Portland, ME – The Maine Red Claws, presented by Unum, overcame a slow start to grind out a 100-93 win over the Grand Rapids Drive Saturday at the Portland Expo. Maine has won 5 straight games for the second time this season.
The Red Claws (15-6) were led by Boston Celtics Two-Way Player Tremont Waters and Affiliate Player Yante Maten. Waters finished with 17 points and a season-high 14 assists, while Maten added a game-high 22 points and 8 rebounds. Kaiser Gates scored 15 points and 10 boards, Two-Way Player Tacko Fall added 14 and 9 rebounds off the bench to go with 5 blocked shots, and Trey Davis and Bryce Brown each added 10 points.
Grand Rapids (13-11) was led by Todd Withers who finished with 21 points on 7-13 from downtown. Louis King added 18 points in the loss.
The Drive started the game hot, on a 9-2 run. Todd Withers’ three forced an early timeout from the Red Claws. Maine righted the ship – Waters buried two three-pointers, leading an 11-0 run to take the lead. Wayne Blackshear buried a three to give Maine an 18-16 lead after 1 quarter of play, a defensive battle.
In the 2nd, both teams traded buckets before the Maine big men took over. Maten dropped in a bucket, followed by a Tacko dunk, followed by another Maten lay-up, forcing a Grand Rapids timeout. The Red Claws led 29-23 halfway through the period. The offensive slog continued, with Maten leading the charge, scoring 7 points in the 2nd quarter alone. When the dust settled, Maine had a 37-34 lead at halftime. The Claws shot just 39.8% (15-38) from the field, and 28.6% (6-21) from three-point range. The Drive shot 33.3% (15-45) from the floor and just 21.4 (3-14) from beyond the arc in the first half.
Waters scored 6 quick points to open the 3rd, while Maten’s driving lay-up got Maine to a 49-43 lead. The Drive and Red Claws offenses caught fire in the 3rd quarter. Withers buried four threes in the quarter alone, and the Drive scored 39 points in the quarter, after just scoring 34 in the first half. Maten continued his strong inside presence, but the Red Claws trailed, 73-70 after 3.
In the 4th, Maine opened on an 8-2 run to get the lead back, capped by an emphatic Tacko dunk. Brown’s corner three made it 81-75 Maine. The Red Claws turned a steal into another Gates highlight reel dunk, getting the crowd fired up. The Red Claws out-scored Grand Rapids 30-20 in the 4th quarter, icing the game with free throws down the stretch.
Maine shot 50% (40-80) from the floor, 27.8% (10-36) from three-point range, and 7-12 from the free throw line. Grand Rapids shot 40% (34-85) from the field, 32.3% (10-31) from beyond the arc, and 11-15 from the charity stripe.