Claws roll into town for home opener? You ready?
So tonight is the home opener for the Maine Red Claws against the neighboring Springfield Armor. To prepare you for tonight's game, we got together a little link on link action so if you are at the game in Portland or just watching at home, you'll know what is going on. Follow our simple five-step-process to get easily caught up on the D-League action so far!
1) The Lobster Roll, Issue 2: Celticsblog's own Lobster Roll roster preview extravaganza, so you know who you're watching! Covers everyone on roster as of 11/29/2009! Click for link!
Game one: Season opener against the Sioux Falls Skyforce
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 27 – The Sioux Falls Skyforce rebounded from a slow start and defeated the expansion Maine Red Claws 112-95 in the season opener for both teams. The Skyforce won their first game of the season for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
After trailing by 11 points in the early going the Skyforce fought back to take a 51-46 halftime thanks to a 15-2 run in the final four minutes of the second quarter. The final points of the run came on a Michael Joiner 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer that sent 4,915 fans into a frenzy.
The Skyforce did not relinquish the lead in the second half as Tony Fritz picked up a win in his first game as a professional head coach.
Reggie Williams led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. Keith Brumbaugh posted 18 points and eight rebounds while Michael Joiner added 16.
Boston Celtics assignee Bill Walker recorded a double-double with a team-high in points (25) and rebounds (11). NBA D-League veteran Billy Thomas scored 18 points behind 3-of-4 shooting from the 3-point line.
Game two, first win of season against the
The Maine Red Claws won their first ever game in franchise history, spoiling the home opener for the Dakota Wizards Saturday night in Bismarck with a 107-97 victory.
After three quarters of back and forth play, the Red Claws trailed the Wizards 76-75. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Red Claws went on a 14-0 run that brought them back from trailing 94-93 with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter to leading 104-94 with :53 seconds left in regulation.
Maine was led by the veteran play of Billy Thomas, who scored 18 points, majority coming from 4-for-5 3-point shooting coming down the stretch. Thomas also played great defense on Dakota's David Bell, picking up three steals and holding Bell to 13 points. NBA-assignee Bill Walker scored 19 and veteran Tony Bobbitt dumped in 18 to take on the majority of the scoring load for the Red Claws.
4) DraftExpress Ranks the Red Claws #8 in the opening week D-League Power Rankings:
DraftExpress.com- The expansion Red Claws did a much better job in the expansion draft than their counterparts, the Springfield Armor, coming away with some veteran leadership in Billy Thomas and Noel Felix. Thomas is a major asset on this roster in particular due to his superb character, experience, perimeter shooting and willingness to be a role-player.
The best prospect here is Syracuse rookie Paul Harris who went to training camp with the Utah Jazz after going undrafted. Harris is currently out with an ankle injury but when he comes back he will be someone that NBA teams are sure to keep an eye on thanks to his athleticism, toughness, rebounding and lock-down defensive potential.
With Harris out, the Red Claws will fill his spot with the Celtics’ Bill Walker who was assigned last week. Like Harris, Walker has a history of working with assistant coach Mike "Sweet Chuck" Procopio, so the Celtics (Procopio’s former employers) know he is in good hands. When Paul Harris comes back the two should still be able to play together as they both spent more time at the power forward position in college than at the 3.
With Danny Ainge’s son, Austin as head coach, the Celtics will probably keep them supplied with NBA talent. It would not be a surprise if the Celtics sent J.R. Giddens or Lester Hudson later in the year. The Red Claws could also see Alexis Ajinca and Gerald Henderson assigned from the Charlotte Bobcats. Any assignments would be huge for Maine as they lack a considerable amount of depth at pretty much every position.
5) Follow game tonight live: You can follow the Red Claws' action tonight right from your computer. Watch the game live on NBA.com's Futurecast. Then, while you tune in, talk to other fans on Celticsblog, right here in our own dedicated game thread!
Okay, there you are, the Celticsblog tried and true 5 link process to becoming a Red Claws' afficianado. I bet you're already talking about Abdulai Jalloh's underrated rebounding abilities right now, aren't you? Oh you scamp!