Bakersfield Storms into Maine, Ices Red Claws, 104-94
PORTLAND, ME - 300 hearty soles ventured out in the storm of the century, dubbed "Nemo" in the press, to watch two of the top teams in the NBA Development League go head-to-head. The Bakersfield Jam (20-9) stormed out early and never looked back, downing the Maine Red Claws (18-13), 104-94.
Bakersfield got going early with the strong play of Brian Butch and Renaldo Major, who keyed a 21-6 run to open the game. The Red Claws would battle back thanks to Kris Joseph and Chris Wright, who scored some quick baskets to draw Maine back to within 13 at the close of the first, 35-22.
The second quarter saw Maine climb right back into the game, as Shelvin Mack, in his second game with the Red Claws since returning from the Philadelphia 76ers, got off to a quick start, scoring six points as part of an 18-2 run that a Mack alley-oop to Wright put an exclamation point on, giving Maine their first lead at the 6:00 minute mark. The Jam would reclaim the lead on a 12-0 run of their own, led by Jerel McNeal before Joseph knocked down back to back buckets and Andre Barrett scored at the buzzer to head into the break with Bakersfield leading 51-47.
Bakersfield took the game back in the third, as Damion James, who recently saw time with the Brooklyn Nets, scored six straight points and McNeal chipped in 10 more points in the quarter. The Red Claws had a hard time getting the shots to fall, scoring only 16 points in the frame, with Mack, Barrett and Wright each getting four and the Jam taking an 81-63 cushion into the final frame.
The Red Claws would not go down without a fight, however, as Mack, Wright and Joseph came back with a flurry of points to close the gap to 97-86 with just over two minutes to play. The night belonged to McNeal, Butch and the Bakersfield Jam, as they closed out the 104-94 victory.
Leading all scorers was McNeal, with 28 points, six rebounds and six assists. Also keying the Jam win were Butch (26 points, 12 rebounds), Major (18) and James (10).
The Red Claws were led by Wright's 27 point, 13 rebound effort. Maine also got solid contributions from Joseph (23 points, six rebounds), Mack (14 points, four assists), Xavier Silas (10 points, five rebounds) and Barrett (9).
The Red Claws will meet the Springfield Armor on Sunday afternoon at 3 PM in the Portland Expo Building. The Jam will travel to Springfield for a 7 PM game tomorrow at the MassMutual Center.
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