Entering Wednesday night’s matchup with the Delaware Blue Coats, the Long Island Nets had begun to earn some recognition from the NBA G League for their recent stellar play.
Head coach Adam Caporn and star guard Craig Randall II were awarded NBA G League Coach of the Month and Player of the month for February, respectively.
In nine games in February, Randall II averaged 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.8 assists in 41.2 minutes per game while leading Long Island to an 8-1 record in those nine contests. Long Island, led by coach Caporn, had an 8-2 record on the month.
Ahead of tip-off on Wednesday, Caporn credited his coaching staff with the award, saying, “I feel very appreciative to our players. It’s slightly awkward, I guess, that it’s not the whole staff because our assistants are awesome, doing a majority of the work so to speak. I couldn’t be more thankful to them and I’m just consistently impressed with the work they do each day, the ideas they bring, and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.”
Riding a six-game win streak, the Nets looked to push farther ahead in the G League Eastern conference standings against Philadelphia’s G League squad. Despite a last-second comeback from the Blue Coats, Long Island was able to do just that, improving to 15-8. Their 15 wins are tied for the second-most in the league, and their now seven-game win streak is the longest active streak of any team.
Playing his usual 40+ minutes, Randall II tallied 30 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Randall focused on distributing the ball early on until keying in on his signature multi-level scoring in the second half.
Thon Maker added 21 points as well as 11 rebounds on 9-of-10 shooting from the field in 25 minutes off the bench. He spoke post-game about the team’s recent success...
This is Maker’s second straight game with a G League career-high. “I finally got my legs back, and finally got my rhythm,” he explains. Coming off a brief stint in Jerusalem, Maker wasn’t been fully conditioned upon joining the Nets. “The team — and especially Craig [Randall] and Coach [Caporn] have been on me about continuing to be aggressive.”
Nets guard Tyrone Wallace recorded 25 points, four rebounds and five assists, playing 40 minutes with the Nets shorthanded, having only eight players available.
The Nets trailed by as many as six points early in the first quarter, but quickly closed that gap with back-to-back three-pointers. They extended that scoring into a 14-2 run to finish the period.
With Delaware leaving their bench on the floor, the Nets took immediate advantage in the second quarter. They eventually extended the run to 33-9 and led by as many as 18 points before the break. At the half, Long Island was in front, 61-52.
After some back-and-forth to open the second half, Long Island once again struck when the iron was hot — with Delaware’s bench unit on the floor.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Nets had already built a mighty lead for themselves. Then Randall delivered what looked like the nail in the coffin. The Player of The Month delivered a pair of triples, drove to the basket for a silky finish, and nailed a 3-point free throw after getting fouled from beyond the arc.
A Myles Powell three with four minutes remaining sparked a last-minute run from Delaware as their long-range shooters finally came alive. The Blue Coats’ swarming defense forced turnovers from the Nets, and Long Island’s lead was down to six points with 1:42 remaining.
An And-1 dunk from Maker with 1:08 pushed the lead to eight points, but an untimely technical foul on Ty Wallace and some hot deep shooting from Powell kept Delaware in the thick of it.
Blue Coats had to intentionally foul Randall with 30 seconds left, but he only delivered on one free throw. Then, the Nets put Jaden Springer on the line, who missed both foul shots but put in a layup after the second miss. The Nets tried to play keep-away on the ensuing possession, but turned the ball over, leading to a breakaway layup for the Blue Coats, and the Nets’ lead was down to two.
Finally, Randall nailed two free throws after being intentionally fouled, and the game was sealed.
Next, Long Island will visit the Cleveland Charge on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. ET — note the early start. The game will air on NBAGLeague.com.