PORTLAND, ME - After months of hard work by countless individuals, the Maine Red Claws product of professional basketball finally came to fruition. A sellout crowd of 3,091 enthused fans packed Portland Expo, and the Red Claws rewarded the hometown crowd with a 102-79 win over the Springfield Armor. NBA D-League President Dan Reid was there to witness the matchup between the two newest teams of his league as were Boston Celtics legends Dave Cowan and Danny Ainge.
These two teams are expected to form a long lasting rivalry, and the Red Claws extracted revenge after the Armor beat them in a November preseason contest. Mario West, the adidas Player of the Game, led the Red Claws with 19 points while Tony Bobbitt added 14. JamesOn Curry had a game high 26 for the visiting Armor.
West hit a short jumper to give the Red Claws the lead with 3:52 to play in the first, and they retained it for the remainder of the game. They jumped out to a 28-18 advantage at the end of one and held a seven point lead at the half, but the game was put away with their dominant final quarter outscoring the Armor 27-12. Their aggressive offense got them to the line 41 times compared to 15 attempts for the Armor.
Three straight Red Claw dunks, two by Trey Gilder and one by Noel Felix elicited the loudest ovation of the night and put the team up ten with 5:02 to play in the third quarter.
The loss makes the expansion Springfield 0-3 in the early season and bumps newcomer Maine to 2-1. These two teams face each other again tomorrow night in Springfield.