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Whitehead, Senglin, Doyle lead Long Island to big win in Maine

Long Island Nets

The Long Island Nets playoff hopes ares still alive Friday after a 112-103 win over Maine’s Red Claws in Portland. The win sets up a season-ending, win-or-go-home battle with the Grand Rapids Drive in Michigan Saturday night.

Isaiah Whitehead continued his hot scoring with a 33-point effort vs. Maine. Over the past five games, the Nets guard is averaging 30.6 points. Whitehead finished 12-of-28 for the evening, including 2-of-5 from deep. He also went a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul stripe and added nine rebounds and four assists.

Milton Doyle, his 6’4” teammate on both Brooklyn and Long Island club, had 20 points on a subpar 9-of-25 shooting, including missing all nine 3-pointers he took on the might. But Doyle grabbed 14 boards, high for the game.

But the biggest contribution may have come from the Nets sixth man, Jeremy Senglin. He displayed a hot hand all night, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep. The 6’2” Senglin who played for the Nets summer league team and was in training camp with Brooklyn, is averaging 14.7 ppg for the season and shooting 36.5 percent from deep. Here’s a look at Thursday night’s highlights...

The Nets will now face the Grand Rapids Drive on Saturday in the last regular season game. The two are fighting for the last of three wild-card seeds. The Nets hold a half game lead over the Drive, who also plays Friday night vs. Eastern Conference cellar-dwelling Greensboro in Grand Rapids. Long Island owns the tie-breaker between the two clubs. So if the Drive loses to either Greensboro on Friday or the Nets on Saturday, the Nets are likely to make the playoffs for the first time.

The Claws took a double-digit lead early, fell behind, rallied to make it close at the end, but eventually lost before a crowd of 2,179 at the Portland Expo.

The Nets came mad their initial move in the second quarter. Whitehead hit a three to make it a 50-49 game with 2:21 left. After some back and forth, Senglin buried another three to tie the game, and followed that up with still another to give Long Island a 55-52 lead. The Nets led 59-54 at halftime. Senglin led the Nets with 17 at the break.

The Nets opened the third quarter with five straight points to open a 10-point lead part of an 11-4 run to start the half. The lead got up to 10 before the Red Claws went on a 13-4 run to get it back to 74-71. The Red Claws cut it to one before Senglin slammed home a fast break dunk. The Nets led 84-79 after 3.

The game was tight in the fourth, but after the Claws reduced the Nets lead to three with 4:13 left, a Whitehead block led to a lay-up, putting Long Island up six. Senglin’s three-point play put the game away for good.

The Nets would open G-League playoff action Tuesday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.