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Portland, ME – The Maine Red Claws were hoping to end their inaugural calendar year with a signature win. Behind five players in double figures, the Red Claws held on for a 95-88 win over the Iowa Energy. The Energy came into the game with just a single loss and were on top of the Eastern Conference of the NBA D-League.
Iowa cut the lead to one point with just more than five minutes to go on a layup by Earl Barron in the game, but back-to-back buckets by Tony Bobbit – one a three and one a dunk – stemmed the tide and gave Maine some breathing room. The sold-out crowd was excited but nearly blew the roof off the Portland Expo a few minutes later. With 3:26 to go in the game, Mario West took a feed in the lane and threw down a one-handed dunk even Michael Jordan would applaud for (check You Tube or Sportscenter later for video). The effort gave the Claws a 12 point lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Red Claws (9-3) jumped out to a 10 point lead after one quarter thanks in large part to stingy defense. Iowa scored just 14 points in the frame as Darnell Lazare led all scorers with 12 points through one. Iowa was just 7 of 22 from the field (31.8%) while the Red Claws shot 47% from the field.
Iowa slowly crawled back into the game in the second quarter as Jeff Trepagnier (originally from USC) went off. A three from the corner tied the game at 33 with five minutes to go in the half and another three two minutes later gave Iowa a five point lead. Trepagnier had 17 points at that juncture. Back to back buckets by Noel Felix and Mario West brought the Claws back to within one with just more than two minutes to go in the half. A Trey Gilder dunk over a defender capped off a 13-4 run to give the Claws a four point lead heading into the break.
The third quarter saw the Red Claws stay ahead for the entirety, with the largest lead being nine. Trey Gilder had several dunks to keep the Red Claws up by half a dozen for most of the quarter. Gilder finished with 10 points in the quarter and the Red Claws led 74-69 at the end of the frame.
-Attendance for the game was 3,045, the sixth consecutive sellout for the Maine Red Claws
-Some VIPs in the crowd included Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Chicago Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson, a former Bulls player who hit the game winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to claim the Bulls’ third straight NBA title
-Iowa had one NBA designated player, Taylor Griffin of the Phoenix Suns organization. Griffin is the brother of Blake Griffin, the first overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft
Tags: Maine Red Claws