PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, erased an 11-point deficit and scored 67 points in the 2nd half, en route to a 118-109 season opening victory over Delaware at the Portland Expo.
The win was the first for new head coach Brandon Bailey. Maine (1-0) was led by an outstanding offensive performance by rookie Andrew White, who set a Red Claws record for points in a season opener with 37 off the bench. Boston Celtics Two-Way Players Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen added 23 and 21 points, respectively. Daniel Dixon added 14 points, all in a pivotal 3rd quarter. L.J. Peak added 10 points for the Red Claws.
Delaware (0-1) was led by Mike Young with 21 points, Shane Edwards with 19, and James Webb added 17 points. NBA Veteran Emeka Okafor scored 7 points to go with 13 rebounds in 19 minutes tonight, while James Michael McAdoo added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Red Claws started with Bird scoring the first bucket of the season less than a minute into the game. Bird’s emphatic slam capped off a 9-0 run to give Maine an 11-8 lead early. Allen and White traded baskets for Maine, while the 87ers kept the pressure on with NBA veteran Emeka Okafor and Jacob Pullen helping When the dust settled on the period, Delaware held a 27-24 lead.
The Sevens continued the pressure in the 2nd quarter –James Michael McAdoo’s bucket made it 42-33 Delaware with 4:30 to go. Delaware would extend to and 11 point lead before Jerome Seagers’ free throws ended the drought. White continued his hot shooting from the outside – the Syracuse product put back an offensive board, then buried a three, and Allen’s driving layup cut the deficit to 50-48. White finised with 23 points in the first half alone, and Maine trailed 52-51 at the break. Maine shot just 35.8% (19-53) from the floor, and just 7-21 from downtown. Delaware shot 42.9% (21-49) from the field, and 0-15 from three-point range.
Maine took the lead in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter – Jon Holmes’ free throws gave Maine the lead, and L.J. Peak’s three put the Claws up 56-52. James Webb’s bucket tied the game at 63 halfway through the quarter. Daniel Dixon knocked down back-to-back three’s to put Maine up 6 – then a third triple to make it 74-65 Claws. Dixon’s 14 point 3rd quarter helped give Maine a 86-84 lead after 3. The Red Claws scored 36 in the 3rd.
In the 4th, White started the quarter with two quick buckets. Delaware responded – Shane Edwards’ tip-in made it a 91-89 game. Edwards’ monster alley-oop slam tied the game at 93 with 9:15 to go. Dixon’s dish to Bird for the slam put Maine back up two, but Pullen’s bucket once again tied it. With 3:00 to go, White buried another jumper, while Allen dropped in a three to put Maine up 108-101. Bird and Daniel Ochefu forced a key turnover with 1:35 to go – and Bird’s lay-in game Maine a 112-105 lead with :55 to go. Bird added a monster dunk at the end of the game to put away.
The Red Claws shot 42.9% from the floor (39-91) and 40.6% from three-point range (13-32). Maine was 27-31 from the free throw line. Delaware shot 46% (46-100), but only 14.3% from three (4-28) and 13-15 from the charity stripe.