Maine Celtics Charge Past Cleveland
PORTLAND, ME - The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, outpaced the Charge, 98-93 behind a strong night from beyond the arc.
Sam Hauser led all scorers with 31 points on 9-15 from downtown, adding nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Deonte Burton finished with 19 points, four rebounds and five assists. Deng Adel had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Juwan Morgan had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the double-double and Luke Kornet put up 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
After a scoreless minute to start the game, Kornet led Hauser into a transition three for Maine's first points. Demers would bury a shot from the same location soon after, and a Burton layup forced Cleveland into an early timeout down 8-2. Burton then hit a three of his own. The Charge offense began to settle in, and the Celtics weathered a four-minute scoreless drought in the mid-first. Kornet's lob to John Bohannon got Maine back on track and Hauser's floater to beat the buzzer gave them an 18-14 lead after one.
Kornet buried a triple to open the second, and Adel hit his second of the game two trips later. Burton provided the most efficient offense for Maine in the early-going, starting 4-6 from the floor and going into the break with 10 points. Both teams struggled to take care of the ball, each turning it over six times before the halfway point of the second. Josh Huestis' three tied it with just under five minutes remaining. Hauser would respond with a three of his own. Kornet swatted a layup and hustled down the floor for a dunk to put the Celtics ahead, 34-29. Hauser would make back-to-back threes to end the half to give Maine a 42-34 lead. Maine shot 16-44 (36.4 percent) from the floor, 10-26 (38.5 percent) from long-range and 0-0 at the line. Cleveland shot 13-41 (31.7 percent) from the floor, 5-15 (33.3 percent) from deep and 2-2 (100 percent) at the line.
The Charge opened the scoring in the third quarter with a layup from Justin James. Hauser hit his fifth three-pointer of the game for Maine's first points of the half. Cleveland was successful getting into the lane early in the third, but Kornet's rim protection and Hauser's marksmanship kept the Charge at bay with Maine leading 49-43 midway through the third. Burton knocked down a long-ball from the left wing before Adel buried another on the next possession to give the Celtics a 13-point lead. The pace picked up at the end of the quarter, and Kornet hit a 1-for-2 free throw to help Maine build a 67-52 lead after three.
A 7-0 run to start the fourth brought the Charge back into the game. Morgan halted the run with a contested three-pointer from the right wing. Cleveland ramped up the defensive intensity in the fourth even with Tacko Fall in foul trouble, helping them bring it within five. Hauser stepped up and knocked down his seventh three-pointer to end the run from the Charge. Maine's offense slowed down in crunch time after they'd re-built a double-digit lead, executing plays and schemes to create the open shot opportunities that would carry them to victory. Maine finished 34-77 (44.2 percent) from the field, 19-45 (42.2 percent) from beyond the arc, and 7-8 (87.5 percent) at the line. Cleveland shot 30-84 (35.7 percent) from the field, 10-33 (30.3 percent) from downtown and 10-10 (100 percent) at the line.
The Celtics will travel to Uniondale, N.Y. to face the Long Island Nets on Jan. 17 before returning to The Expo for a matchup with the Windy City Bulls on Jan. 20. Tickets are made available at MaineCeltics.com.
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