PORTLAND, ME – In a matchup of the NBA D-League East Conference elite, the Maine Red Claws handed the Iowa Energy just their second loss of the season, 95-88. The two best teams in the conference faced off against each other on New Year’s Eve in front of the sixth straight sell out at the Portland Exposition Building.
The Red Claws started quickly behind 12 first quarter points by Darnell Lazare and held a 10-point advantage after the first quarter, but Jeff Trepagnier carried the Energy back into the game with 11 points in a 15-0 second-quarter Iowa run and they trailed by a score of 46-42 at the half.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Energy got to within one with 5:51 to play in the game before Tony Bobbitt had five straight points to start a 14-3 Maine run that was capped off by a thunderous Mario West dunk.
Lazare had a team-high 17, and Ajinca followed with 16. West’s dribble penetration wreaked havoc on the Energy, and he finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Trepagnier had a game-high 26 for the Energy.
Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge, Celtics Basketball Operations Analyst Mike Zarren, Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson, and Charlotte Bobcats advance scout Brendan O’Connor were all in attendance at the game.
With the loss, Iowa maintains their hold on first overall while falling to 11-2. Maine trails the Energy by two games in the East at 9-3. The Red Claws are back in action at 5 PM tomorrow at home against the Erie Bayhawks. The Energy head south to face the Springfield Armor tomorrow at 6 PM.