In another heartbreaker 25 miles east of Barclays Center, the Long Island Nets lost to the Motor City Cruise at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night, 111-110. The Cruise’s Jared Rhoden, a Long Island native, hit two free throws with 2.1 seconds left, only three seconds after the Nets’ Kyler Edwards had missed both of his.
The loss took the Nets from first in the G League’s Eastern Conference standings to fifth. They currently have a 7-5 record after running up a 9-7 record in the G League Showcase earlier in the season.
The Nets were led by Kennedy Chandler, the Nets 5’11” point guard, who finished with 25 points shooting 10-of-17 from the floor. He also contributed five assists but turned the ball over an equal number of times. Still, the 21-year-old played his typically aggressive game...
Kennedy Chandler puts it in for 2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/2CuJ5EaUk4— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) January 24, 2024
Jalen Wilson, one of the Nets two two-way players, scored 20 points for Long Island. The 6’8” rookie shot 7-of-14 from the field including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. He added four rebounds and three assists. Kyler Edwards and Noah Clowney each dropped 14 points. Clowney shot 5-of-7 overall, didn’t take a three and recorded four rebounds. Jordan Hall, Long Island’s 6’9” wing, finished one rebound and one assist shy of a triple double with an 11/9/9 line. He also blocked two shots. David Muoka, Long Island’s 6’11” back-up big man from Hong Kong, finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
Earlier Tuesday at Nets shootaround in Brooklyn, Nets 19-year-old rookie Dariq Whitehead spoke of his left shin stress reaction which will keep him out for a yet undetermined amount of time.
“Just trying to take the right steps to make sure my shin is where it needs to be before I step back on the court again to make sure there’s no setbacks, said the 6’7” wing who’s been troubled with leg and foot issues the past 18 months. “Trying make sure we take care of things the right way and not have setbacks.”
If not treated properly, a stress reaction can become a stress fracture, a more serious injury. Whitehead has played on minutes restrictions with Long Island, never exceeding 23 minutes in 17 G League games and two NBA outings. He’s averaging 8.8 points on 47/26/85 splits.
Also Tuesday, Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said Ben Simmons will continue his rehab practicing with the Long Island Nets. No timeframe for his return has been disclosed. “At some point, we’ll use Long Island to get a practice underneath him or get some more bodies around him,” Vaughn told the media, not detailing when Simmons will start. Long Island primarily practices at the Yes, We Can Community Center in Westbury, but has also practiced at HSS Training Center in Brooklyn.
Tuesday’s game went back-and-forth and came down to the final play of the contest after a fourth quarter where neither team was able to mount a lead of more than three points. With 57.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Motor City trailed Long Island by three points (110-107). Zavier Simpson scored with a driving lay-up with 29.5 seconds left. On the next drive, the Cruise fouled Kyler Edwards with just over five seconds remaining and Edwards missed both free-throws. After a Cruise rebound and timeout, Rhoden was fouled with 2.1 seconds remaining and made both of his free-throws. The Cruise stopped Long Island on the next drive as Clowney missed a 16-foot jumper.
Rhoden, a two-way shooting guard from nearby Baldwin, led the Cruise to victory with 30 points in tonight’s game. Rhoden shot 11-24 from the field and 3-9 from beyond the arc. Zavier Simpson scored 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter alone and tallied 10 assists to secure a double-double. Jayce Johnson grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 14 points to secure a double-double for himself.
The Motor City Cruise (7-5) and the Long Island Nets (7-5) will finish their two-game series on Thursday, January 25 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Long Island, NY). Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET.