Theo Pinson scored 32 points and made it a 3-point game with 3:19 left, but the Long Island Nets couldn’t pick up the victory Tuesday night, falling 127-116 to host Rio Grande Valley in the second game of the NBA G League finals at Edinburg, Texas.
Rio Grande Valley wrapped up the game on a 14-6 run, led by Isaiah Hartenstein who finished with 33 points, including 8-of-9 from behind the arc.
Pinson also pulled in 11 rebounds and five assists, while Thomas Wimbush scored 21 points and Alan Williams recorded a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds.
The loss forces a deciding Game 3 Friday night at 8 p.m. at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on the campus of Stony Brook University.
Rio Grande Valley led the entire second half, but the Nets rallied down the stretch. After the Vipers jumped out to a 15-point lead on Jordan Johnson's jumper with 1:23 left in the third, Long Island answered with seven straight points, making it a 94-86 game heading into the fourth.
The Nets went on a 10-point run midway through the quarter, capped by Wimbush’ trey with 7:39 left, cutting into Rio Grande Valley's lead to 103-100. Long Island got as close as two, after Jordan McLaughlin’s jumper with 4:53 to play, and Pinson’s 3-pointer nearly a minute and a half later kept it a one possession game, but the Nets could never get over the hump.
Rio Grande Valley answered every one of the Nets pushes with one of their own and Michael Frazier effectively shut down any Long Island rally with 1:48 to play, sinking a deep triple to push the Vipers’ lead back to eight.
Long Island struggled to find its rhythm throughout the game, with 17 lead changes in the first half. The Nets shot 38 percent from behind the arc, while Rio Grande Valley went 48 percent from distance.