Despite 21-point first quarter lead, 905 fail to maintain

The 905 failed to apply a basic concept from a 00s movie, based on a place an hour away from Long Island: "Live and Maintain."

In the 2002 crime drama film, Paid in Full, Ace is the voice of reason. His boys are out partying, having a ball of a time, but Ace dampens the mood, warning Cam’ron to stop drawing unnecessary attention. Slow and steady wins the race; Ace whispers into Cam’ron’s ear, “Live and maintain.”

It’s been more than 20 years since the film came out, but the 905 failed to “live and maintain” in Long Island, an hour away from where the movie was based (in Harlem). They got too high on their 21-point lead in the first quarter.

The 905 shot 61% from the field, raining five threes, and Long Island shot an abysmal 19% from the field (0-for-10 from three). Reggie Perry got his way, dropping 14 points in the first frame, and put on a clinic. He showed us his spin cycle, made two threes, and his hometown of Mississippi is not known for shinny, but he had beautiful hockey assist below. He recognized the help coming to collapse on him, and dished it out to Banton, instead of forcing his way inside as he did against Iowa.

The party continued on the following offensive possession, where Perry and David Johnson skipped passed over Banton’s head twice before Perry drove and dished it out to Johnson for the three.

But unlike an 80s party, the era where Paid in Full was based, the 905 failed to keep it going. Back-to-back dunks by Long Island mid-way through the second quarter catapulted the Nets to go on a 27-8 run in eight minutes. With the 905 up only one point, 53-52, going into halftime, they were going into the second half playing a new game.

And the 905 could not shake its second quarter woes. The Nets outscored the 905 by nine points in the second half, but worse, the 905 gave up more turnovers (17) in the second half than the Nets had all game (12). The Nets had 11 steals in the second half, and David Duke Jr. had three of his total four steals in the second half.

The 905 lost to the Nets in both Showcase Cup games by four and three points. In their first game, they had a lot to learn from a 90s flick, so it’s appropriate they learn from a 00s one this time around.

Why did the 905 lose?

We’ll start with what wasn’t the problem.

The 905 were evenly matched from a personnel standpoint. The 905 had their assignee and two-way player, Banton and Harper; the Nets, Kessler Edwards and David Duke Jr. Harper had 20 and 10, but Banton may have had one of his worst G League games after putting on two stunning performances. He finished with more turnovers (all five came in the second half) than points (4) in 32 minutes, resembling a Ben Simmons-like stat line. Banton had 4, 8, and 2; the 45 Kipling was malfunctioning, and couldn’t pick up the 905 last night.

It wasn’t three-point shooting either. Both teams shot horrendously; the 905 went 9-for-32 (28%) after shooting 5-for-10 in the first quarter, and Long Island shot 7-for-37 (19%) after going 0-for-10 in the first.

So, here are my three explanations.

Losing the inside game

The Nets outscored the 905 by 16 points in the paint. Duke Jr. tied his career-high 30 points, and Kavion Pippen poured in 10 points along with 11 boards (4 offensive) off the bench. The Nets had a total 45 bench points, and six Nets scored in double figures, while the 905 had 21 bench points. The bulk of the 905 scoring came from four players (S. Brown, Harper, Perry, and Lee) who had 77 out the team’s 102 points. With so many Nets players stepping up, Reggie Perry’s former teammate Chris Chiozza coasted by with a quiet 4, 5, and 11-performance.

Perry was punished for his defensive lapses

This hurt the 905 offensively. Perry shot 5-for-13 inside the three, and completed an and-1 driving hook to inch within one point at the end of the third quarter. Perry subbed off at the start of the fourth as interim head coach Demetris Nichols (Eric Khoury has been absent due to personal reasons) tried a small ball lineup (Darryl Morsell, David Johnson, Banton, S. Brown, and Harper).

Perry was subbed back on, but defensively, a few problems arose. Perry and Brown tried to blitz? or was it a show? (I don’t know so please comment below) Alondes Williams, and with the tag by Harper coming so high on Kessler, it freed up Jordan Bowden for a wide open three. Perry stood in no-man’s land, and there was miscommunication on what he or Morsell was supposed to do.

Then, the Nets continued to work the ball around in the following offensive set. A fifth pass was made to Alondes Williams, who blew by Perry’s closeout, and Coach Nichols was seen putting his WTF hands up in the air. In the ensuing possession, Bowden stole the ball right out of Banton’s hands, and flushed it down for an open, fastbreak layup, and Kenny Wooten was subbed in for Perry.

Making that sub only exposed how much the 905 needed Perry offensively. He was subbed back in with 4:25 left, the 905 down 8, and they went on a 8-4 run to inch within four points, but never came closer than that.

22 turnovers through three quarters

Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, 22 turnovers allowed the Nets to have nine more field goal attempts (68) compared to the 905 who hoisted up 59 attempts in the same duration.

Player notes

Kelsea O’Brien wrote about how a player’s impact on winning gets him scouted. This was a bad loss for the 905, but one positive takeaway was Sterling Brown‘s fearlessness. Even though the 905 gave up an early lead, Brown wasn’t afraid to take some ballsy threes, from a transition pull-up three (missed) to this one at the top of the arc to inch within four points (made). Brown had 12 points (2-for-7 beyond the arc) and eight boards along with six turnovers.

The 905 face the Nets again on Wednesday, January 4th, same place, same time.

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