Mad Ants lose opener
Walter Lemon Jr. was terrific in his return to the Mad Ants’ lineup, totaling 34 points, but Fort Wayne lost the opening game of its 11th season 115-99 in Uniondale, New York, on tonight.
Isaiah Whitehead had 26 points and Kamari Murphy added 21 for the Nets in front of 3,504 fans at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Coliseum, formerly the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where Long Island retired No. 32 in honor of Julius Erving. Dr. J played three seasons with the Nets there in the American Basketball Association from 1974 to 1976, winning two titles and three MVPs. His number had already been retired by the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
Lemon, who spent last season playing overseas, made 13 of 28 shots and added six assists and four steals. Teammate Jarrod Uthoff had 17 points, nine rebounds and two shot blocks. And C.J. Fair, also back after a season away, had 14 points.
Fort Wayne will have its home opener Tuesday against Greensboro at Memorial Coliseum.
Led by Milton Doyle’s 11 points, the Nets jumped out to a 26-8 lead to start the game, as the Mad Ants missed 16 of their first 19 shots.
Lemon, who had only two points in the first quarter, got a hot hand by scoring 13 of 23 Mad Ant points but they still trailed 52-33.
The Mad Ants, who trailed by as many as 22 points late in the second quarter, went on a 37-17 third-quarter run, culminating with a Lemon lay-up, to get within two points at 76-74.
But the Nets were reinvigorated in the fourth quarter and went on a nine-point run, culminating with a Shannon Scott put-back, to retake control.
The Mad Ants played without Alex Poythress, who is with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Edmond Sumner (knee, shoulder) and Trey McKinney Jones (shoulder).