High-powered offense gives Celtics 4th straight win
–Pinson, Thomas erupt for 59 combined points
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, played with cohesiveness offensively and shot the leather off of the ball as they cruised past the Westchester Knicks, 131-106 in the first of a two-game series.
Maine (6-1) was led by Brodric Thomas with 32 points on 10-15 shooting (4-8 3P) in his first start with the Celtics. Thomas added 10 rebounds and five assists. Theo Pinson followed up with 27 points, while Chris Clemons added 18 (3-5 3P) and four assists off the bench. Sam Hauser hit three triples on his way to 14 points and Juwan Morgan posted a double-double with 12 points (4-6 3P) and 10 rebounds.
Maine was attacking the basket early, with their first points coming on free throws drawn by Theo Pinson and Brodric Thomas adding the next two on a layup. Cullen Russo’s first bucket as a Maine Celtic put them up 9-4. Consistent ball movement, lane penetration and 14 points from Thomas lifted Maine’s offense throughout the quarter and they led 37-23 after one.
Deng Adel found Russo for a dunk to get Maine’s offense going in the second. Shortly after, an 8-2 run from the Knicks would cut the deficit to nine, 43-34 with 8:35 remaining. Timely cutting and ball movement remained key for the Celtics, who would stretch the lead back to 13, 73-50 behind a hot stretch from Chris Clemons as the first half closed. Maine shot 58.1 percent as a team, including 61.1 percent (11-18) from downtown. Every Celtic that saw the court in the first half recorded at least one assist. Thomas led all scorers with 18 points, while Clemons added 13 and Pinson 12. Juwan Morgan totaled nine points and eight boards.
Thomas came out of the locker room and scored Maine’s first five, with a Hauser three putting the Celtics up 81-58 just over four minutes into the second half. Thomas caught a highlight-worthy lob from Pinson, and a barrage of 3-pointers from Clemons, Hauser, Morgan and Thomas lifted Maine to a 99-76 lead by the end of the quarter.
Luka Samanic scored nine quick points to help the Knicks cut into the deficit early in the fourth, with Maine being forced into a timeout up 104-89 after being outscored 13-5 to start the quarter. The Celtics would respond with a run of their own to close it out, thanks to 11 points in a takeover of the final frame from Pinson. Clemons and Jaysean Paige paced the offense down the stretch as Maine coasted to victory. The Celtics shot 56 percent (47-84) from the field, 55.6 percent (20-36) from long-range and 100 percent (9-9) from the free throw line. Westchester shot 50 percent (42-84) from the field, 40.5 percent (15-37) from downtown and 83.3 percent (5-6) from the line.
Maine will complete its two-game road trip to Bridgeport, Conn. in Sunday’s contest against Westchester. The Celtics’ next home game is Thursday, Dec. 16.