It wasn’t the Long Island Nets day on Sunday. In an afternoon game in Portland, Maine, the Maine Celtics ran Long Island off the court, 134-95. It was the second straight loss for the Nets G League affiliate who are now 3-2.
The only bright spot for Brooklyn was the play of Keon Johnson, the 6’5” combo guard who played last season for the Trailblazers, then in preseason for the Suns. Signed to a two-way deal three weeks ago, the 21-year-old finished with 14 points in 22 minutes on 5-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep. Johnson also recorded six assists and three rebounds. He had 18 points two days ago in Maine’s win over Long Island.
KJ showed his athleticism several times during the game...
Dariq Whitehead, still recovering from his off-season foot surgery, finished with 10 points as did Jalen WIlson. Noah Clowney who had 22 and 8 two days ago, tallied only 8 and 5 Sunday.
Boston assignee Jordan Walsh led all scorers with 24 points, adding six rebounds and two assists for Maine (2-2). Two-Way guard JD Davison recorded 22 points, four rebounds and 11 assists with only two turnovers and Jordan Schakel scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting (6-of-8 from deep). DJ Steward turned in 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on 8-10 shooting in 22 minutes played. Tony Snell posted 15 points and six rebounds.
As noted by the Maine game summary, the Celtics’ shooters picked up where they left off on Friday night, coming out of the gates scorching hot en route to a 15-4 lead at the first timeout break. Maine’s lead built to 26-4 before Long Island came alive with a 12-4 run that forced head coach Blaine Mueller into a timeout. Davison checked out after a quick eight points, and by the time he checked back in, the Nets were face guarding and denying him the ball as soon as he crossed halfcourt.
The Celtics led 32-21 after the opening frame, controlling the flow of the game thanks to Davison’s 10 points, three rebounds and four assists in only 10 minutes of play. Long Island scored four points to get within 10 at the start of the second half, but Schakel sank a pair of threes to quiet the budding run.
Davison controlled all facets of the game during his minutes this afternoon, tallying 12 points, three rebounds and seven assists by the time he hit the bench in the second quarter. The Celtics held serve for the remainder of the game, leading by double-digits since the early run to open the game – a balanced shot diet of threes and open layups had the offense humming all afternoon. Davison, Schakel and Steward had combined for 38 of Maine’s 55 points as the Nets sat at 38 points as a team midway through the second, and Maine’s lead lengthened to 70-47 by halftime.
Maine’s highest-scoring half of the season saw them shoot 59% from the field and 13-20 from downtown as a team. Maine was up by 28 by the eight-minute mark of the third, and Snell’s third triple of the night pushed it to a 30-point stiff arm. Long Island moved the ball with purpose in the second half and generated more high-quality shots, but the Celtics’ offense just didn’t let up. The second unit upheld the pace set by the starters as they lead stayed above 30 for most of the quarter, and Maine led 109-77 after three. In the fourth, Maine’s lead ballooned to as much as 47 points.
The game also marked the debut of David Muoka, a 6’10” center signed last week. Muoka, a native of Hong Kong, has said he’d like to be the first Hong Kongese player in the NBA. The UNLV product played seven minutes, scoring two points, grabbing two rebounds.