It was a good day for development but a bad one for playoff positioning.
Day’Ron Sharpe, on assignment from the Brooklyn Nets had an electrifying 30-point, 22-rebound and 4-block performance early Wednesday, but the Long Island Nets lost their third straight, to the Westchester Knicks, 118-113, in Bridgeport, Conn. The three-game losing streak followed a nine-game winning streak.
Long Island is now 16-11 and in the sixth and final seed for the post-season. They are two games ahead of the seventh seed. G League playoffs begin April 5.
Sharpe was later called back to Brooklyn and the 20-year-old has a chance to play in both a G League game and NBA game in the same day, a relatively common experience now that many of the G League teams are located close to their parent clubs.
Here are Sharpe’s highlights...
Sharpe dominated the paint for Long Island, shooting 12-of-25, including 1-for-4 from deep, using his girth, athleticism and good hands to grab 15 offensive boards. In addition to his 22 rebounds and four blocks, the rookie also had two assists, two steals and shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the line.
Craig Randall II added to his high scoring ways, finishing with 29 points on 10-of-27 shooting, including five 3-pointers. Randall, a 6’4” combo guard, also had seven rebounds and six assists. Randall is now the second highest scorer in the league, averaging a little less than 27 a game and leads the league in 3-pointers by a wide margin. Brandon Rachal, the team’s 6’6” wingman had 15. Thon Maker backed up Sharpe and finished with nine points and four boards.
The visitors scored the game’s opening basket and held on to their early lead in a tightly contested first period. Long Island led 29-24 after one.
Westchester scored five straight points to tie the game 29-up with 11:04 on the clock in the second. Nearly two minutes later, the hosts took their first lead of the contest, 36-34, at the 9:18 mark of the quarter. The Knicks led 50-42 with 3:44 to go until the break which established their largest lead through the first two periods. Westchester grasped a 58-55 lead at the half.
After the Nets took a brief one-point edge with 10:19 left in the third, the Knicks scored eight unanswered points to make it 68-61 at the 9:02 mark and regain control of the contest. The Knicks opened the game’s first double-digit advantage, 87-76, with 3:24 remaining in the quarter. The home team led 95-86 heading into the fourth.
In the final frame, Long Island used a 12-2 run to open the period to go ahead by one with 6:39 left to play. Both sides went back-and-forth throughout the period and deadlocked scoring, 114-up, with 80 seconds to go. Hernandez finished at the cup and Holder sank two free-throws to seal the four-point victory.
Here are the game highlights.
Seven players scored in double-digits for the Knicks (13-12), with Tyler Hall leading the way with 25 points, his sixth 20-point game this season, and four assists. Louis King and Tra Holder each dropped 19 points. Allen Crabbe, the ex-Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter who’s trying to make a comeback, finished with 12 points.
The Nets next play Sunday in Fort Wayne vs. the Mad Ants. The game will be NBA TV at 3:00 p.m. ET.