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Red Claws leap into fifth NBA D-League season

The Maine Red Claws (4-1) are hosting the Springfield Armor (0-5) at 7 p.m. Friday evening at the Portland Expo, the third match of the season between New England's only D-League (Development-League) teams.

The Claws edged the Armor 93-89 last Sunday in Springfield behind Chris Wright's 21 points. The two teams will meet yet again on Saturday in Springfield at 7 p.m. After that Maine is off until next Friday evening, Dec. 20, when they host the Sioux Falls Sky Force (4-2).

The Red Claws are in second place in the six-team Eastern Division. They trail Canton by just one game and lead Fort Wayne by 3.5 games, league newcomer Delaware by four games and winless Erie and Springfield by five games apiece. Each of the three division winners in the 17-team league and five "wildcards," teams with the next best records regardless of division, will qualify for the playoffs

Five of Maine's players are averaging double figures in scoring led by returning 6-foot, 8-inch forward Chris Wright (24.0) sixth in the league; 6-foot, 3-inch rookie guard Frank Gaines (17.0) and 6-foot, 8-inch rookie forward Romero Osby (15.6), who also leads the team with 8.4 rebounds per game.

The 2013-14 season marks the fifth season that the Celtics have used the Maine Red Claws as their NBA Development League affiliate and the second under a hybrid affiliation, in which Boston is Maine's sole NBA affiliate and has full control over the team's basketball operations. Red Claws Head Coach Mike Taylor is also in his second year with the team. Radio broadcasts of each game can be heard live on WJJB 96.3 FM with Chris Sedenka and Rick Simonds calling the action.

Shelvin Mack Watch: The 6-foot, 3-inch, 215-point guard out of Butler, who led the Red Claws in scoring and assists last season before being called up to the NBA, has been playing well this year for the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, the second round (34th overall) pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Wizards, has played in 16 games and is averaging 6.8 points and 3.3 assists with just 0.7 turnovers in 16.6 minutes per contest. Mack, who had a season high 17 points on Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City, is among the league leaders in assist per turnover ratio.

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