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Long Island Nets beat Wisconsin Herd and finish with G League’s best record

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After being down by 10 at the end of the third, the Long Island Nets went on a 36-25 run in the fourth Saturday, beating the Wisconsin Herd, 126-125, at Nassau Coliseum and finishing the regular season with a 34-16 record, tied with the Rio Grande Vipers for best record in the G League.

The win was the capper for Long Island which had already won both the league’s Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Nets got big games from their assignee, Dzanan Musa, who scored 27 points, as well as their two-way players, Theo Pinson, who finished with 23, and Alan Williams, Mr. Double-Double, who recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds.

But with Mitch Creek and Tahj McCall not playing, Thomas Wimbush stepped up. The 6’7” shooting guard finished with 15 points but more importantly had two big moments late in the fourth to secure the win. A Wimbush putback dunk with 2:31 remaining made it a one-possession game for the first time in the final quarter. Then, after a Musa steal with 2:19 left tied the game, Wimbush hit a 3-pointer with 1:24 to go to give the Nets the lead for good.

The game was a little tense at the end. With 5.5 left in the game, Musa turned the ball over giving Wisconsin a chance to win the game. Nick Johnson missed the potential game-winner as time ran out. A put back dunk was ruled after the buzzer.

The game was decidedly not pretty with Long Island racking up 24 turnovers, eight by Pinson and five each by Musa and Williams.

The Nets finished the regular season winning 10 straight at the Coliseum. Long Island lost only one game after the All-Star Break, dominating the G League. This will be their first post-season appearance in the franchise’s three-year history.

The NBA G League Playoffs begin on March 26 but because the Nets clinched the Atlantic Division, they will have a first round bye. The Nets begin their playoff run on March 29 and will face either the Grand Rapids or the Raptors 905, who face each other in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Playoff tickets are available for the March 29 game as well as future games.

Musa led the way for the Nets in their final regular season game recording 27 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Musa shot 10-of-17 from the field —1-of-3 from deep— and played a total of 31 minutes in the win.

On the year, Musa —the league’s second youngest player at 19, finished with averages of 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Nets two-way guard, Theo Pinson, had a typical outing, scoring 23 points, grabbing three boards, and handing out five assists. He also hit 4-of-10 three-pointers. Pinson played great against the Herd this season. In his three games against Wisconsin, Pinson has scored 27 points, 26 points, and 23 points.

Pinson ended the season with averages of 20.3, 6.0 and 6.1. The 6’7” point guard also shot 38.7 percent from deep for the season, a dramatic improvement from the 22.7 percent he shot in final year at North Carolina.

The 6’9” Williams, aka Big Sauce, closed out the regular season on another double-double recording 17 points and 15 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Williams finished the regular season with averages of 19.8 and 12.9, the latter third in the league. Seton Hall product Angel Delgado led the league with 14.8

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The Herd finish their 2018-19 season finishing with a record of 12-38 and will not be in the upcoming playoffs. Xavier Munford closed out the season with 31 points, six rebounds, and one assist.

Will Weaver, who will head to Sydney once the playoffs are over, started Pinson, Wimbush, Williams, Musa and Kamari Murphy for Long Island’s final regular season game. Creek and McCall were active for the game but did not play.

The first quarter was yet another high scoring stanza for Long Island, a big part of their success. Both teams played high tempo offense and tight defense.

The Nets played a nearly identical game compared to Friday’s first quarter against the Delaware Blue Coats; hitting three’s and high percentage drives.

Musa put on a showtime dunk with 2:18 left in the first. After a nifty steal at half court, Musa put on an open court reverse slam.

Showtime was not over quite yet. Shortly after, with 1:50 left in the first, Murphy drove down the lane and threw down a highlight reel dunk to put the Nets up by seven. At the end of one, Long Island led Wisconsin 30-23.

Pinson led the Nets in scoring with eight points on 2-of-3 shooting from behind the arc. He went 2-of-2 from the foul line as well. Musa and Wimbush had good first quarters scoring six points a piece.

The Nets shot 11-of-18 from the field (61%) and 3-of-6 from behind the arc (50%). Long Island went 5-of-6 from the foul line (83%) as well in the first.

For Wisconsin, Munford led the way with eight points followed by McCoy with seven points. The Herd shot 11-of-27 from the field (41%) and 1-of-5 from behind the arc (20%). Wisconsin only attempted one free throw in the first but went 0-1 from the line.

The Nets played good man-to-man defense throughout the second but Wisconsin aggressively attacked the paint. On the offensive end, the Nets did a good job finding cutters and being patient, looking for the open shot. At half, Long Island led Wisconsin 66-64.

Musa had a good overall first half playing well on both ends of the floor. He recorded 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Musa recorded one steal in the first half as well.

Pinson played well, too ,recording 16 points and four assists. Williams, on the other hand, had a quiet first half for him, scoring seven points and grabbing eight rebounds.

Qualls had an impressive first half for the Herd. He recorded a game-high 20 points at halftime to go along with four rebounds and two assists. Munford continued his strong play recording 10 points, two rebounds, and four assists.

The Herd started the third quarter on a 7-to-0 scoring run taking an early lead. Despite jumping ahead early, the Nets came back strong and quickly retaking the lead with eight minutes left in the third.

The Nets started to crumble late in the third quarter. A big reason was turnovers. The Herd did a good job playing tight defense and being aggressive on the offensive end. The Nets had 18 turnovers heading into the fourth quarter.

At the end of three, the Herd led the Nets 100-90. The Herd continued their strong play holding their lead throughout the fourth quarter. Then, the Nets climbed back in the game.