Published Date Written by Ken Levinsky
The Maine Red Claws (16-21), who have edged to within four and a half games of a playoff spot, finish their five-game home stand at 1 p.m. on Sunday against the first-place Fort Wayne Red Ants (23-14).
The third place Red Claws are 7 games behind Fort Wayne and six and a half games behind second-place Canton in the six-team Eastern Division. 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.
The Red Claws final 11 contests include six road games and five home games. After Sunday's tilt, the next two home games are on Sundays March 16 and 23.
Frank Gaines, the Maine Red Claws 6-foot, 3-inch rookie guard from Indiana Perdue Fort Wayne has the team lead in scoring with an average of 20.1 points per game. The undrafted Gaines, who played high school ball in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has made an impressive 41.6 percent of his three-point shots.
Veteran 6-foot, 8-inch forward Chris Wright, second on the team with a 19.5-point average, was Maine's only representative in the D League's recent all-star game in New Orleans.
Big man Daniel Orton, who leads the team with 1.93 blocks per game, is averaging 8.8 points and seven rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game. Orton (6-10, 255) was the 29th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. In 51 NBA games (Orlando, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia) over three seasons, Orton holds career averages of 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game. This season the Kentucky product appeared in 22 games (four starts) with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds
Damen Bell-Holter, the 6-foot, 9-inch rookie from Oral Roberts, is averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in only 17.1 minutes 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 (play by play) and Rick Simonds (analysis) calling the action. Sedenka, a 1999 Gorham High graduate, is co-host of the PM JAB sports talk show, heard from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays on 96.3 FM. Simonds was a very successful basketball coach at St. Josephs College, winning 11 conference titles in 23 years.
Maine Red Claws
Yearly Win/Loss Record
2010 27-23 missed playoffs
2011 18-32 missed playoffs
2012 21-29 missed playoffs
2013 26-24 Playoffs: lost in first round
2014 16-21 (as of March 5)