Long Island Nets seek second straight G League win over Westchester Knicks
Long Island heads to Westchester after 99-75 home win over Knicks on Tuesday
The Long Island Nets will be in Westchester on Thursday night for a return game against the Knicks following Tuesday night's 99-75 win in Long Island. Tonight's game wraps up the season series between the two teams, with Westchester having won the first two meetings.
Trailing by nine at halftime on Tuesday, the Nets sprinted away by outscoring Westchester 64-31 in the second half, limiting the Knicks to 26 percent shooting after the break, including 0-for-7 on 3-point attempts.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Nets, who improved to 24-19 with seven games remaining in the season.
"Our guys have to understand what helps us get it done and they have to commit to doing it every possession," said Long Island head coach Ronald Nored. "When we were in the huddles, when we were making a run, guys were talking about 'don't stop now. There's no time to let up now.' We have to do that from 12 minutes in the first quarter to zero minutes in the fourth quarter next time we play them. Because they're going to be ready."
The Knicks were down to eight players on Tuesday with Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Nigel Hayes having recently signed 10-day contracts, plus two-way players Isaiah Hicks and Luke Kornet - plus rookie Damyean Dotson, who has played 11 games on assignment for Westchester - all with the New York Knicks.
Without those players, Westchester's 3-point shooting is wiped out. There's only one player on the roster taking more than two 3-pointers a game and shooting better than 30 percent, and that's Paul Watson at 36 percent on 2.9 attempts per game. The Knicks shot 1-for-17 from 3-point range in Tuesday's loss to the Nets.
Billy Garrett (10.8 ppg) is Westchester's leading remaining scorer. He and Watson had 12 points apiece on Tuesday, while Sekou Wiggs had 16.
SENGLIN BRINGS A SPARK
Jeremy Senglin has brought scoring punch off the bench for Long Island all season long, and he's been huge in big spots the last few days.
Against Windy City on Sunday, with the Nets trailing entering the fourth quarter, Senglin scored 10 of Long Island's first 17 points of the quarter, tying the game at 85, and then giving the Nets their first lead of the second half on a 3-pointer.
In Tuesday's win against the Westchester Knicks, Senglin put up a game-high 27 points - 19 in the second half - while shooting 11-for-23. It was Senglin's ninth 20-point game of the season, with a high of 40 in a win over Maine on Jan. 23.
The 6-foot-2 guard put up 21.1 points per game on 44.7-percent 3-point shooting as a senior at Weber State last season and has brought that scoring touch to the G League in his first pro season. Senglin is averaging 14.4 points in 25.6 minutes per game, giving him a per-36 minute rate of 20.2 points.
"The thing about Jeremy is he just competes," said Nored. "Whether it's making shots or whether it's getting stops or whether it's driving at the rim, he just competes. He never gets tired. I was thinking about taking him out because he played for a long stretch. He wasn't tired. There was no need to. He just loves competing, he loves playing basketball, he loves having fun."
The Nets welcomed back rookie Thomas Wimbush in Tuesday's win against Westchester. The 24-year-old guard had missed the previous two games with tightness in his back. The fourth-overall pick in this year's G League draft out of Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia, Wimbush is averaging 8.5 points in 17.7 minutes per game.
He played 16 minutes and finished with six points against the Knicks.
"He looked like he was moving well," said Nored. "He said he felt good. When Isaiah (Whithead) went down (head injury, third quarter), someone was going to have to step up and play. Thomas was at the end of the bench and ready and he came and played hard. He defended well. He got to the free throw line pretty quickly. He provided a spark for us."
MURPHY HITS THE BOARDS
Forward Kamari Murphy has 13 rebounds in each of Long Island's last two games and has scored 20 or more in two of the last four games. The 6-foot-9 big man is averaging 10.3 points and 7.4 rebounds for the season.
Murphy is a Brooklyn native who grew up in East New York and played at Lincoln HS with Isaiah Whitehead. Murphy was a senior during Whitehead's freshman year. After two years at Oklahoma State and two seasons at Miami, the 24-year-old is in his first pro season.
"This year was kind of like a resume year, just to see where I'm at as a pro, playing against other older guys and guys with experience and just seeing where I was at," said Murphy. "My numbers are not the best, but they're solid for my first year and I think I've still got time to push them up a little bit with these last seven or six games that we've got. Overall, I'd say it was a successful year even though I didn't get a call-up or a two-way contract. I think guys still notice me, I'm still on the radar. That's all I can ask for."