Published Date Written by Ken Levinsky
The Maine Red Claws (17-23), their playoff hopes in jeopardy, play Friday evening at the Texas Legends (20-22) before returning home for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday against the Erie Bay Wolves (13-27).
The third place Red Claws are seven and a half games behind co-leaders Fort Wayne and 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. Maine needs to gain six games in the final three weeks to make the post-season.
The Red Claws final 10 contests include five road games and five home games. They are a very competitive 11-9 at home but only 6-14 on the road. After Sunday's tilt, their next home game is next Sunday, March 23. Maine will complete its home schedule the following weekend with a three-game home stand on Friday, March 28; Sunday, March 30; and Monday, March 31.
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 20.4 points per game. The undrafted Gaines, who played high school ball in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has made an impressive 40.3 percent of his three-point shots.
Veteran 6-foot, 8-inch forward Chris Wright, second on the team with a 19.5-point average and the team leader with 8.1 rebounds per game, was Maine's only representative in the D League's recent all-star game in New Orleans.
Big man Daniel Orton paced the team on Wednesday with season highs in both points (26) and rebounds (16). Orton (6-10, 255), who leads the team with 1.82 blocks per game, upped his average to 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game. The 29th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, Orton holds career averages of 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game over 51 NBA games (Orlando, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia) over three seasons, 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 7.7 points and 4.3 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 (15-9 at home) missed playoffs
2011 18-32 (13-11 at home) missed playoffs
2012 21-29 (11-13 at home) missed playoffs
2013 26-24 (13-11 at home) Playoffs: lost in first round
2014 17-23 (11-9 at home) as of March 13