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Alan Williams and Dzanan Musa shine in Long Island’s Opening Night win over Westchester

Tim Oakes goes over the great opening night performances that Alan Williams and Dzanan Musa had with the Long Island Nets in their win over Westchester.

Joseph Ryder

Veteran big man Alan Williams opened the NBA G League season scoring 27 points and grabbing 21 rebounds to help lead the Long Island Nets to victory. Williams set the tone offensively and defensively in the team’s 114-105 win over the Westchester Knicks at The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

“It wasn’t nothing new,” the Nets two-way player said after the game. “It was just good to get out there and get a good amount of minutes to go and show that I can do that.”

Williams scored 11 points of his 27 points in the first six minutes of the game to help histeam gain an early lead over Westchester. Williams thrived in the Nets’ pick-and-roll and his teammates found him on numerous drop off passes near the basket.

“You could have told me it was 47 and 41 and I wouldn’t have been surprised,” Nets Head Coach Will Weaver said. “I thought his impact was huge, even more so how he quarterbacked our defense. I thought his talk was elite. You see why he’s an NBA player. He’s communicating and helping the team even more than the stats suggest.”

The veteran big man spent parts of the past two seasons playing for the Phoenix Suns before being waived in July. He dealt with knee issues most of last season which allowed him to play in just five games, but he appeared to have no physical limitation in his first regular season game with Long Island.

Brooklyn’s first round draft pick, Dzanan Musa, also put on a show. Musa displayed his aggression all game long, finishing with 23 points on 45 percent shooting. He connected on three of his seven shots from three-point range, including one in transition. His ability to be a deep threat was widely anticipated, but he also spent much of his time attacking the basket. The left-handed rookie connected on several well-defended layups from the left side, making him difficult to defend.

“Tonight I think he just put his head down and said ‘you can’t stop me’,” Weaver said. “That is growth and that will take him a long way. Despite the youth there are alot of mature players on our team.”

The 19-year-old rookie answered the call when the Knicks began to inch closer to tying the game. Westchester made a push in the third quarter to bring the game within six points, but Musa answered with an alley-oop layup in transition and a three-point shot the next two Net possessions. The Nets prospect was not available to speak following the game.

Brooklyn’s undrafted rookie Theo Pinson struggled in the first half, tallying five turnovers. But he played a big part in the team’s second half, scoring 12 points without turning over the ball. The versatile wingman finished the game with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

“I’m really happy with the unselfish, aggressive intent that our guys played with,” Weaver said. “We played a lot of guys, some of which showed up a couple days ago, and that shows their level of maturity in and of itself.”

Knicks guard John Jenkins had a game-high 31 points to pair with five rebounds and three steals. Isaiah Hicks scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Knicks two leading scorers combined for 54 points but only one assist.Westchester compiled just 12 assists compared to the the Nets 24.

Caris LeVert of the Brooklyn Nets was spotted at the Coliseum supporting Long Island. Nets Daily also reported that Brooklyn’s GM Sean Marks and D’Angelo Russell were also in attendance on Opening Night.

Long Island will host the Capital City Go-Gos on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.