Long Island Nets open Western trip with loss at Salt Lake City

Brooklyn Nets Long Island Nets Shannon Scott. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Long Island Nets Shannon Scott. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Long Island Nets fell into a big early hole once again Friday night, going down 21 in the 2nd quarter in a 109-96 loss to the Salt Lake City Stars.

The Long Island Nets opened a four-game Western road trip Friday night with a 109-96 NBA G League loss to the Salt Lake City Stars at Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena.

The loss was the third in a row for the Nets (18-10), whose lead in the Eastern Conference has been cut to one game over the Lakeland Magic, Capital City Go-Go and Westchester Knicks.

Injury issues with the parent Brooklyn Nets have left Long Island a bit short-handed, as the G-Nets are dealing with injury problems of their own.

More from Nothin' But Nets

Long Island was without two-way player Theo Pinson for the second straight game and lost forward Mitch Creek to Brooklyn on Friday after he was signed to a 10-day contract.

While the Nets welcomed back Jordan McLaughlin, the rookie point guard who had not played since Dec. 22 because of a strained left hamstring, Long Island was without starting shooting guard Tahjere McCall (left toe sprain) and versatile forward Thomas Wimbush (right elbow sprain).

Salt Lake City (15-14) closed the first quarter on a 24-3 run across the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, opening a 39-18 lead with 9:48 left in the first half.

Long Island got it to single digits before intermission and cut the deficit to 53-46 when Okaro White buried a 3-pointer with 42.5 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Stars, an affiliate of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, pulled away in the third quarter with a 10-2 run to push their lead back out to 74-57 with 5:57 left in the period and the Nets never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Long Island struggled offensively, hitting just 39.8 percent (35-for-88) overall and was just 11-for-36 (30.6 percent) from 3-point range. The Nets did have a 49-41 edge in rebounding, but committed 18 turnovers that led to 22 Salt Lake City points.

The Stars hit 48.9 percent overall (44-for-90) and were 12-for-36 (33.3 percent) from deep. Their 14 turnovers led to 14 Long Island points and they outscored the Nets 52-44 in the paint.

Long Island’s remaining two-way player, Alan Williams, scored a game-high 27 points in just 27 minutes and was 3-for-5 from 3-point range.

Shannon Scott had his second triple-double of the season for the Nets with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while White finished with 19 points and 13 boards. Kamari Murphy scored 17 points off the bench. McLaughlin had nine points in 19 minutes in his return.

Tanner McGrew led Salt Lake City with 25 points off the bench, while Isaiah Cousins finished with 21 points and eight assists and Shonn Miller dropped 20 points to go with nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

Deonte Burton added 10 points and 11 assists and Justin Reyes had a pair of blocks.

Next. 10 best Nets from 2nd NBA decade (1986-96). dark

The Nets are back at it Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern when they head to the Los Angeles area to take on the Agua Caliente Clippers in suburban Ontario, Calif. The game can be seen on Facebook Live.