Balanced Nets Overwhelm Drive
UNIONDALE - All nine players to enter the game for the Long Island Nets (18-7) scored at least six points as they defeated the Grand Rapids Drive (11-14) at home in an early game Wednesday by a 116-88 final score. The Drive came in having won four of their last five games, but the top team in the Eastern Conference jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half and kept the Drive from ever threatening.
Thomas Wimbush's 21 points off the bench stood as the high mark for a Long Island player, Alan Williams had yet another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Shannon Scott had 17 points and eight assists. Long Island's ball movement was excellent all game, with seven players registering at least two assists. A whopping 33 of their 42 made field goals were assisted, easily the most this season by a Drive opponent.
Johnny Hamilton's 21 points and 12 rebounds were both team highs for Grand Rapids, and he played a big part in limiting the efficiency of the Nets' starting frontcourt of Okaro White and Williams. Marcus Thornton was the Drive's next-highest scorer with 13 points, but he struggled from the field after back-to-back 30-point games, going 4-of-20 from the floor and missing all eight of his threes. Speedy Smith had 10 points and nine assists, nearly half the Drive's total of 19 assists.
Long Island's ball movement on offense and defensive intensity coupled with the Drive's poor shooting from three-point range resulted in some lopsided stats. The Drive shot 35 percent from the field and 5-of-24 (21 percent) from deep, their lowest number of threes made on the season. The Nets finished at 47 percent from the floor and went 17-of-41 (41 percent) from three-point range, with the 17 makes tying the most the Drive have surrendered this season.
The home team also had a solid advantage on the boards. All nine players secured at least four rebounds, and they finished with 53 while Grand Rapids gathered 39.
The Nets host the Canton Charge again at home in their next contest on Friday night. The Drive will look to rebound with two newly-signed two-way players at home against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, also taking place Friday night.
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