Maine Celtics

Maine Celtics Fall to Motor City Despite 38 from Davison

February 8, 2024 - NBA G League (G League)
Maine Celtics News Release

PORTLAND, ME - The Maine Celtics shot 49.5% from the field as a team but fell victim to a career night from Buddy Boeheim as the Motor City Cruise claimed a 120-112 victory.

JD Davison led Maine (9-9) with 38 points, tying a career high, to go with five rebounds, eight assists and two steals. DJ Steward put up 22 points, five rebounds and four assists, shooting 4-6 from long-range. Drew Peterson added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Jordan Walsh chipped in 11 points and six rebounds.

Boeheim dropped a career-high 38 points on 13-23 shooting (7-12 from deep), adding eight rebounds and three steals. Zavier Simpson notched 22 points and 12 assists and Jayce Johnson turned in 14 points and 13 rebounds. Nathan Knight tallied 20 points and nine rebounds while Devon Higgs scored 13. ShawnDre Jones had 10 points.

On the game's opening possession, Simpson went right to the running hook, but it clanked off the back of the rim; Higgs opened the scoring with a layup on the next trip. Davison collected a steal and took it the distance to get Maine started. By the first timeout break, Motor City had built an 11-7 lead with the help of five early points from Boeheim. The Celtics went on a 5-0 run to take a brief lead, but Boeheim got himself up to 10 first-quarter points to put the Cruise back in front. A deep three from Steward tied it at 25 with two minutes and change remaining, but a 1-for-2 from Simpson in the waning seconds edged Motor City in front, 32-29 through 12 minutes.

The two sides continued trading leads as the first half developed, amassing eight lead changes and five ties by the seven-minute mark of the second. The scoring was evenly balanced between twos and threes for both sides - about halfway through the second, Maine gained a slight edge thanks to efficient, high-volume shooting from long-range, taking a 45-44 lead off a triple from Brandon Slater. Boeheim caught fire to end the quarter, nailing a transition three to regain the lead for Motor City, already the 16th lead change of the night. The Syracuse product finished with 21 points on 5-8 from deep in the first half, almost solely powering the Cruise offense along with Simpson's 12 points and six assists. Both teams shot well above 50% from the field in the opening two quarters, with Maine shooting 47.4% on nine made threes, but went into the half trailing 61-55 after being outrebounded 20-16 and allowing 15 points off eight turnovers.

A 12-4 run to kick off the second half vaulted the Celtics in front, 67-65 in the first four-plus minutes. The Cruise fired back with an 8-2 run soon after - the shooting never dropped off in the third for either side, with both finishing the quarter at 52% or better. Davison took the reins in the third for Maine, recording 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in the quarter, getting himself to 22 points by the end of the frame. Steward knotted it up again with another deep-range triple, this time at 85, just ahead of the third-quarter horn to even it up heading into the fourth.

It was Motor City's turn to open the frame with a run, outscoring Maine 12-3 in the early stages of the fourth. The Cruise were up by double digits, 102-92 as the clock ticked under seven minutes with the Celtics needing to make a run but were unable to string together stops. Moments later, Davison's and-one trimmed the deficit to five, but Jones got it right back with a corner three that made it 105-97. The driving and finishing of Davison helped the Celtics get as close as two points in crunch time, but Boeheim and company answered the call every time down the stretch as Motor City held strong to dig out the win.

The Celtics and Cruise finish off a two-game set at the Expo at 1:00 PM on Saturday, Feb. 10. Maine then hosts Windy City on the night of Feb. 14 before the All-Star break begins on Feb. 16.

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