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Backcourt pushing Long Island towards G-League playoffs

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Long Island Nets v Wisconsin Herd Photo by Tom Lynn/NBAE via Getty Images

With 14 games to go, the Long Island Nets look like they’ll have a good shot at the G-League playoffs when they start up in late March ... and you can thank their high-scoring backcourt for the opportunity.

The 12-team playoffs work this way...

The team with the best regular-season record in each of the league’s six divisions automatically qualifies for the postseason. The additional six playoff berths will be filled by the three “wild card” teams in each conference, based on their best regular-season records.

After a big 120-111 win over the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks affiliate, Saturday night in Oshkosh, WI, the Nets have a 20-16 record. If the season ended today, that would qualify for one of the Eastern Conference wild card spots.

Once again, Long Island was led by one of its guard, back-up combo guard Jeremy Senglin who scored 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including five 3-pointers. Milton Doyle, coming off a 42-10-11 triple double, had 16. Those two, along with frequent Brooklyn assignee Isaiah Whitehead, have led the late season surge.

The game also marked the return of 6’3” Yakuba Ouattara, the French guard who was signed to a two-way deal in the summer, played one game in November, got hurt, was cut, then re-signed to a pure G-League deal. He played 19 minutes, scored 17 points, his first big minutes game since returning last week.

Also in double figures for the Nets were J.J. Moore, the Long Island born small forward who finished with 21 points, Tahjere McCall with 14; and Akil Mitchell with 10. Nets reserves outscored the Herd’s 69-32.

Long Island never trailed after a 16-2 run in the first quarter, led by as many as 21 points and were ahead 103-83 with 3:32 remaining before the Herd came back.

Wisconsin reeled off 10 straight points to slice the deficit in half and then got to within eight after back-to-back 3-pointers. The Herd’s game high scorer, James Blackmon Jr. scored on a layup to pull the Herd to within 107-101 with 1:10 remaining.

But Wisconsin was forced to foul and Long Island went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 24 seconds to seal the win.