NEWARK, DE – The Delaware 87ers (18-16) romped into the All-Star break on the back of their second consecutive strong performance against a playoff team, demolishing the Maine Red Claws (22-14) 123-101 on Tuesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.
The Sevens outscored the Red Claws 70-43 in the second half after trailing 58-53 at intermission. The third quarter was one of the finest 12-minute stretches of basketball Delaware has put together this year; the team outpaced Maine 40-15 in the period to put the game away for good.
James Webb III dropped a season-high 40 points and added 13 rebounds. Shawn Long and Carlos Lopez also had double-doubles, with Long going for 24 and 16 and Lopez chipping in with 12 and 10. It was Long’s 20th double-double of the season and Lopez’s first. But Webb III was the star tonight.
“You know what, it’s funny, the other day they were joking in practice that he didn’t shoot the ball great doing spot-shooting, but he still shot probably 60 percent,” Head Coach Eugene Burroughs said. “In his mind, he was probably like ‘I didn’t shoot seven out of 10 for every spot’ and Coach Martelli told him he was going to make seven today and he made nine. So, he had a great day. He was feeling it.”
Lopez’s double-double came in just 20 minutes off the bench. He also added two assists and continues to show superior passing skills for a big man.
“He’s been playing great; he plays with a motor,” Burroughs said. “He sets screens. He’s probably the most unselfish guy on our team and when he’s active and moving the basketball and setting screens for guys, with our team, it really helps us.”
Nate Robinson, the NBA veteran who has been playing professional basketball since 2005, had just three points on 1-8 shooting in his Sevens debut. Still, the three-time Slam Dunk champion showed flashes of his old self and managed to distribute the ball well, picking up three assists despite only having one practice with Delaware under his belt.
“I thought he played well,” Burroughs said. “For a veteran guy like that, you could see the pace that he plays with. Under control, he was great in pick-and-roll. He didn’t make some shots today, but you could tell once he gets a little more familiar and get his legs under him, he’s going to make those plays and he’s going to help our team.”
Robinson’s veteran leadership was evident as well. He used his time on the bench to mentor the younger players.
“Just energy. Just get the guys playing,” Robinson said. “I tried to explain to them during a couple timeouts that, the second unit, we just have to come in and provide energy – regardless of if we make mistakes, if we make shots or don’t. We just have to play with energy, because the ball is going to find energy.”