Red Claws Inch Closer to Playoffs with Win
PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Red Claws defeated the Salt Lake City Stars on Sunday at the Portland Expo, 104-95. Maine improves to 28-17 with the win, and leads Delaware by 4.5 games for the Atlantic Division. Maine's magic number to clinch the division is 2.
Abdel Nader was today's player of the game, and led Maine with 25 points on 9/20 from the floor, while adding 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Jordan Mickey, who was on assignment from the Boston Celtics, netted 21 points and added 8 rebounds to go with 6 blocks. Marcus Georges-Hunt was a jack of all trades for the Claws, scoring 15 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. Jalen Jones had a double-double for Maine, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game high 17 boards. Coron Williams scored a bench-high 11 points connecting on a trio of three pointers. Arthur Edwards was productive yet again in reserve scoring 9 points.
In the 1st quarter, Maine scored first at the 10:00 mark on a slam dunk from Mickey. He then connected on his second bucket of the game with a top of the key three-pointer, and Maine led 7-5. Halfway through the quarter Maine was up 9-6 after Nader made a driving layup for his second basket of the game. Williams made a three at the top of the key with just under 4:00 that gave Maine an 18-9 lead over Salt Lake City. Williams had the hot hand early on, making his second three in a row, giving the Red Claws a 21-10 lead. Salt Lake City outscored Maine 7-4 in the closing minutes of the quarter to trail 25-17 after 1.
In the 2nd quarter, Jalen Jones scored the first basket for Maine, then went to the line for two, connecting on both attempts, pushing the Maine lead to 28-18. Marcus Paige hit a corner three for the Stars that cut the Maine lead back to 5 points, 28-23. Mickey continued to do it all for Maine, grabbing a rebound, going coast to coast, and finishing over two defenders to push the lead to 32-23 in Maine's favor. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum in the game for the first time, had a put back slam that extended the Maine lead back to 10 points, 42-32. Maine finished the half strong, and led Salt Lake City 49-40 at the half.
Nader started the scoring of the second half with a deep three that pushed Maine's lead back to 12, 52-40. Salt Lake City cut the lead back down to 6, after Henry Sims went to the line and connected on both free throws. Dixon-Tatum was on the offensive glass in the second half, as he scooped up a missed dunk by Jones, and laid it in, giving Maine an 8-point lead back, 60-52. Salt Lake City got the Maine lead down to 4, after JJ O'Brien made a pair at the line. After leading by only 2 points, Edwards drained a corner three that gave Maine a 6-point lead, 66-60. Williams beat the buzzer for Maine on a two-point jumper that gave the Red Claws a 72-67 lead going into the 4th.
In the 4th quarter Paige nailed a corner three that brought the Maine lead back to 2 points, 72-70. Dixon-Tatum finished off an alley-hoop from Nader that gave Maine another 6-point lead, 76-70. Salt Lake City scored the next 4 points before Scott Morrison called a timeout, the score was 76-74. Chane Behanan tied the game at 76-76 with a put back slam, and Brandon Triche gave Salt Lake City their first lead of the game on a layup, 78-76. After tying the game at 78-78, Marcus Georges-Hunt made a three giving the lead back to Maine, 81-78. Nader drained a three on a nice pass from Mickey, giving Maine another 9-point lead, 90-81. Cameron Ayers made a three that gave Maine a 10-point lead, but Jermaine Taylor answered on the other end with a three of his own, before Jones made a three giving the 10-point lead back to Maine, 96-86. Jones made another three on the next possession, giving Maine a 13-point advantage, 99-86 with under 3:00 left to play. Despite trailing early in the quarter, a late run by Maine propelled them to a 104-95 win over Salt Lake City. Maine was 39/88 (44.3%) from the floor as a team, while going 11/31 (35.5%) from downtown, and 15/18 from the free throw line. At one point Maine had connected on 38 straight free throws dating back to last game. Salt Lake City was 33/86 (38.4%) from the floor, 10/28 (35.7%) from three, and 19/32 from the free throw line.
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