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LONG ISLAND NETS CLINCH PLAYOFFS WITH WIN OVER MAINE

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The Long Island Nets blew out the Boston Celtics affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, 129-112, at Nassau Coliseum Friday to win their eighth straight game, remain undefeated since All-Star Break and most importantly, clinch the team’s first playoff berth since joining the league three years ago.

Long Island is currently 29-14 and ranks first in the Eastern Conference and tied for second overall in the NBA G League. The team has six games remaining in the regular season, including four home games at the Coliseum. The Nets eight-game winning streak is the longest active winning streak in the G League.

The Nets, who had to wait for the Delaware Red Coats to Capital City Go-Go, celebrated on-line...

G League playoffs begin March 26. There was bad news, however. The Nets announced that their starting stretch 4, Okaro White, was ruled out for the rest of the season and playoffs after injuring his ankle on Wednesday.

Long Island was dominant throughout the game, especially in the second half. The Nets played good all-around basketball. Theo Pinson was a late scratch from Friday’s game. The former UNC guard, was initially named to the starting lineup but was replaced by Tahjere McCall prior to tip off. McCall’s 10-day deal expired earlier Friday.

The last time the two teams faced off, Pinson dropped a career-high 43 points.

Alan Williams, the Nets two-way center, paved the way for Long Island recording his 26th double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Overall, the Nets had seven players with more than 12 points. McCall had a solid all-around game recording 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in the win. Dzanan Musa scored 18, grabbed four rebounds, and handed out four assists.

Jordan McLaughlin recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six assists. His six rebounds set a career-high for the guard as well.

Shannon Scott and Mitch Creek both had a solid outings as well with 17 and 16 points.

For the Maine Red Claws, Archie Goodwin, the ex-Net, scored a season-high 32 points to go along with six rebounds, and three assists. The Red Claws two-way player, PJ Dozier had a good game as well recording 23 points, four rebounds, and three assists. RJ Hunter, who played for Long Island two years ago, had a quiet game only scoring four points, five assists, and four rebounds in 23 minutes.

With no Pinson for Long Island, Will Weaver started McCall, Creek, Williams, McLaughlin, and Musa.

The Nets started the game on a 6-to-0 scoring run. It took till the 9:15 mark of the first for the Red Claws to score. Both teams had their three-ball shooting working quite well. Midway through the first, the Nets and Red Claws had a sequence of trading three’s.

The Nets defense was on point in the first. Despite shooting the three ball decently, the Red Claws were often limited to taking outside shots rather than forcing the ball inside.

With the Nets biggest lead 14 points in the first, the Red Claws started to put together a small scoring run in the final minutes. Despite the Red Claws run, the Nets kept shooting from behind the arc finishing the quarter with a nine point lead.

Scott, one of the Nets streaky three point shooters, led the way for the Nets in the scoring column shooting 3-of-3 from behind the arc with nine points. Creek had a good first quarter as well recording nine points as well to go along with two rebounds and one assist. McLaughlin had an aggressive first quarter, especially driving the ball, scoring seven points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Musa had a quiet first scoring the ball, recording three points and two assists followed by Williams with three points and three rebounds. Long Island shot 6-of-10 from behind the arc.

For Maine, Goodwin had a great first quarter on the offensive end scoring 12 points followed by Dozier with five points. Hunter struggled scoring the ball in the first recording only one point.

At the end of the first, Long Island led Maine 36-27.

Both teams started the second quarter aggressively scoring the ball. The pace of the game was fast with both teams wasting no time to score. Long Island kept their patience on the offensive end looking for the best opportunity to score the ball. For Maine, they kept firing three’s and mid-range shots looking to cut into the Nets lead.

Goodwin started to take over midway through the second leading his team back into the game. The Nets began to become sluggish on the defensive end in the final two minutes of the game.

The Red Claws weren’t able to grab a lead in the second quarter but cut their deficit to five points. With 0.7 of a second left, Creek picked up a technical foul for some words he said at the ref.

Big Sauce led the way for the Nets in the first half recording 15 points and seven rebounds. Scott had a strong first half scoring 12 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Creek had a solid half recording 11 points and three rebounds followed by Musa with 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Goodwin had a spectacular half for the Red Claws dropping 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. Two-way Dozier had a good half for the red Claws scoring 13 points followed by Sheldon Jeter with nine points. Hunter, the Celtics’ other two-way, scored only four points in 13 minutes of action.

Long Island shot 22-of-50 (44 percent) from the field in the first half and 8-of-18 from behind the arc. The Nets did maintain good free throw shooting in the first half going 15-of-19 (79 percent).

Maine shot slightly better than the Nets going 26-of-54 (48 percent) and 8-of-18 from behind the arc (44 percent). The Red Claws only shot five total free throws in the first half going 2-of-5.

At the half, Long Island led Maine 67-62.

Both teams had a slow start scoring the ball starting the second half. The Nets did a great job moving without the basketball and making under the basket passes to cutters for easy points. After three straight cutting plays, Maine called a time out with 8:28 left in the third and trailing the Nets by 14. It was downhill from there for Maine. At the end of three, Long Island led the Red Claws 104-80. And that was that.

The Nets had to wait for the Capital City - Delaware game to end to celebrate ... and now get ready for the post-season.