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LI Nets' home struggles continue with loss to Santa Cruz Warriors

Long Island Nets forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot drives the

Long Island Nets forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot drives the ball into the paint past Santa Cruz Warriors forward Alen Smailagic during the second half of an NBA G League basketball game at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Seventeen fourth-quarter points from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were not enough for the Long Island Nets as they fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors 119-109 on Friday at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Luwawu-Cabarrot led the team with 26 points.

With the loss, the Nets (2-9) stay in the 14th spot out of 15 teams in the G-League Eastern Conference and still are looking for their first home-court win.

“It’s just disappointing after we played so well yesterday in Toronto,” said Nets head coach Shaun Fein. “I didn’t think the effort was there. Hopefully we’re going to learn from it.”

The Warriors (6-6) climb back to .500 after dropping two of their last three games before the victory.

Jeremy Pargo led the Warriors with 28 points.

The Warriors controlled nearly every aspect of the game, outshooting the Nets 51 percent to 44 percent and outrebounding Long Island 46 to 39.

After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Nets trailed by just one point. Both teams were hot to start off the game, with neither team missing the basket for nearly the first two minutes of action.

The early scoring flourish included two consecutive three-pointers from Jaylen Hands who was in the starting lineup for the Nets for the first time since Nov. 29 after coming off the bench for the last three games.

“[Hands] was the spark for us early on for sure,” Fein said. “He kept us in the game a little bit early on with his three-point shooting.”

Hands replaced CJ Massinburg in the starting lineup. Massinburg sat out of the game with a sore left ankle.

The Nets were firing on all cylinders from beyond the arc early on, hitting six of their first eight shots. On the other side of the court, the Warriors could not get their three-point shots to fall in the first quarter, missing all six attempts in that stanza.

The second quarter was a different story as the Warriors took control of the game, extending their lead to as large as 15 mid-way through the second quarter. The Nets went cold from the three-point line in those 12 minutes, shooting 2-9.

Although Hands led all scorers with 13 points at the half, the Warriors held a commanding 63-48 lead after shooting 53 percent from the field after the first two quarters of play. The Nets shot 45 percent from the field in the first half.

“In the first half it was just more individual stuff,” Fein said. “That’s not how we play. It wasn’t Long Island Nets basketball.”

The Warriors continued to control the game in the second half, holding an 18-point lead after the third quarter.

The Nets made it interesting in the fourth quarter with hot three-point shooting, coming within five points with a little under two minutes to go, but the Warriors held on for the win in the only matchup between the teams this season.

“We’re a new team with a lot of young guys,” Fein said. “So, you’re going to go through some of these times, these ups and downs, so we just need to stick to it and stay together and hopefully we’ll learn from this.”

Long Island is back in action on Monday as they welcome the Raptors 905 to the Coliseum and continue to search for their first win of the season in Nassau County.

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