Nets Bury 20 Threes to Defeat Maine Celtics
UNIONDALE, NY - The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, fell to the Long Island Nets, 118-108, behind a flurry of triples, 34 points from Craig Randall II and a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double from Bryce Brown.
Sam Hauser led Maine (2-2) with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Juwan Morgan recorded 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Luke Kornet had 18 points and two blocks while Eric Demers posted 14 points and three boards. Deonte Burton finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Chris Clemons tallied 14 points in his return to the Celtics following a 10-day stint with the Atlanta Hawks.
A put-back from Adam Woodbury and a three-pointer from Justin Jackson got the Nets out to an early lead. Burton put Maine on the board with a layup and Demers splashed a three on the next trip to tie it. Jackson hit another from distance to help Long Island to an early 14-10 lead before leaving with an injury. Demers continued to warm up, hitting another three himself. Hauser canned one to tie the game, 18-18. Long-range bombs became less frequent for both teams as the quarter wore on. John Bohannon stepped off the bench to provide six quick points in the paint. The Nets went on a 9-4 run to end the first, giving them a 27-24 lead.
Brown and Randall II restarted the three-point barrage for Long Island, powering them to a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter. Hauser and Morgan each converted and-one opportunities to halt the run and bring Maine within a half-dozen. Officials assessed a flagrant foul to Burton and the Nets led 45-39 after the ensuing 1-for-2 free throw. The Celtics began to get themselves to the line, driving aggressively to the rim and forcing Long Island to foul. Demers nailed his third three of the game to bring Maine within two in the final minute, but the Nets went into the break leading 56-52. The Celtics shot 19-40 (48 percent) from the floor, 8-21 (38 percent) from deep and 4-5 (80 percent) at the line in the first half. The Nets shot 20-45 (44 percent) from the floor, 10-20 (50 percent) from deep and 3-4 (75 percent) at the line.
Kornet found a cutting Burton to open the second half with a dunk for Maine, who came out of the locker room and went on a 13-7 run to take a lead, 65-63. Former Red Claw Wayne Blackshear found a warming Brown for a three to put the Nets back ahead but Clemons would hit a pair to return the advantage to Maine. Talib Zanna was a force in the paint and on the glass for Long Island throughout the third, helping the Nets hold a slim lead over Maine in the final minutes. The Nets led 89-82 after three.
Long Island's 5-0 run to start the fourth opened up a 12-point lead. Morgan ran the floor for a dunk and exploited lax defense for another slam, cutting Long Island's lead to three. Adel's three made it 96-93, but Randall II buried a trio of long-balls to swing the momentum back towards the Nets and he continued to pour it on as the game wound down despite Maine's best efforts to come back. Maine shot 39-84 (46%) from the floor, 13-43 (30%) from distance and 11-14 (79%) at the stripe. Long Island shot 40-89 (45%) from the floor, 20-41 (49%) from distance and 9-13 (69%) at the stripe.
The Celtics will play against the Westchester Knicks in Bridgeport, Conn. on Jan. 19 before returning to The Expo for a two-game homestand against the Windy City Bulls and Knicks on Jan. 20 and 22.
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