PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, were short-handed but still found a way to win, avenging last night’s loss and beating the Long Island Nets, 111-99.
Maine (10-2) was without both Two-Way Players Sam Hauser and Brodric Thomas, who were transferred to Boston prior to the game. The Celtics were led by Jaysean Paige with 29 points. Chris Clemons was near a triple-double with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Juwan Morgan added a season high 20 points, while Theo Pinson contributed 12. Asante Gist, signed earlier in the afternoon, finished with 11 points in his Maine debut.Long Island (4-8) was led by Bryce Brown with 26 points. Craig Randall added 20 in the loss.
Pinson opened the scoring by burying a three. Paige followed that up with a triple of his own. Paige scored 8 quick points as Maine went on an 11-0 run to start the game. The lead would swell from there, with Paige scoring 16 points in the 1st quarter. The Celtics led by as much as 24-7 before RaiQuan Gray led a charge to cut the deficit to 10. Asante Gist, signed earlier in the afternoon, entered the game and promptly made his first bucket. Maine led 36-24 after 1.
In the 2nd, Gray’s big dunk cut the Long Island deficit to 8 at 38-30. Chris Clemons rattled in back-to-back buckets for the Celtics, extending the lead to 12. Bryce Brown tried to keep the Nets in the game, knocking down his third triple of the game. Long Island would cut it to 5 before Paige’s monster dunk righted the ship. Maine led 62-56 at halftime, shooting 50% (23-46) in the first half. The Celtics also shot 50% (11-22) from three-point range. Long Island out-scored Maine 32-26 in the 2nd quarter, shooting 48.8% (21-43) from the field in the first half.Long Island got hot to open the second half, cutting the deficit to 2. Clemons stopped the run with a three-ball, putting Maine up 69-62. Kenny Wooten Jr.’s massive alley-oop dunk got the crowd on its feet as the Celtics maintained the lead. The teams would trade buckets, but Clemons, Paige and the Celtics would extend the lead. Maine led 81-75 after 3.
Pinson hit a huge three early in the 4th to put Maine up 13. Clemons continued to pour it on, but Long Island went on a run to cut it to 10. Juwan Morgan’s 4-point play righted the ship for Maine. The Celtics would cruise from there. Maine finished shooting 46.2% (37-80) from the floor, 40.5% (15-37) from three-point range, and 14-19 from the free throw line. Long Island shot 42% (37-88) from the field, 33.3% (14-42) from downtown, and 7-7 from the charity stripe
Maine heads off to the NBA G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas. The Celtics return home on Dec. 31 for their annual New Year’s Eve matinee.