Portland, ME – The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, made a furious 4th quarter comeback but couldn’t top the Westchester Knicks, falling on opening night, 95-92.
Maine (0-1) was led by Two-Way Player Walt Lemon, Jr. who led all scorers with 26 points. Marcus Georges-Hunt added 13 points in his return to the Expo, Justin Bibbs scored 12 on 5-8 shooting off the bench. Robert Williams, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, recorded a double-double with 11 points (5-5 FG) and 10 rebounds.
Westchester (1-0) was led by John Jenkins with 19 points.
Williams opened the scoring with the first bucket of the season, and his first bucket as a a Red Claw. Williams scored 4 of the first 8 points for Maine, while John Jenkins paced Westchester with 5 of his own. Maine held a 9-8 lead at the first timeout. Former Red Claw Kadeem Allen paced the Knicks with 7 early points. Andrew White buried a long two for his first bucket back with the Claws, as the teams would go back and forth at the end of the period. White buried a three at the end of the quarter, but the Knicks led 29-26 after one.
In the 2nd, the Knicks went on a 15-10 run to start the quarter, with Allen leading the charge. Lemon made 4 of his first 7 shots for 10 quick points, but the Knicks opened up a 45-38 lead. Maine cut back into the deficit with a 16-4 run to close out the quarter – Westchester led 54-49 at the half. Maine shot 43.6% (17.39) from the field, but just 21.4% (3-14) from downtown. The Knicks shot 46.3% (19-41) from the floor, and 50% (6-12) from beyond the arc.
Both teams traded buckets to open the 3rd quarter, Devon Baulkman knocked in a fast break three to put the Knicks up 10. Maine cut it to 4 points, but Westchester went on an 8-0 run to extend back to 74-62. Georges-Hunt made a driving layup and the end of the period, but the Red Claws trailed 76-67 after 3. In the 4th, Williams’ emphatic dunk got the crowd in the game, but Maine still trailed 80-72. Lemon led a mini run to cut it to 6 points. Jenkins righted the ship for the Knicks on the offensive end. Lemon took over the game offensively, and Georges-Hunt’s three-point play made it 92-90. Bibbs’ putback with :30 to go made it 93-92 Knicks, but the Claws could not get any closer.