Published Date Written by Ken Levinsky
The Maine Red Claws (18-24) are undefeated at home on Sundays in March, having already won on March 2, 9 and 16. However, before returning home for another hopefully glorious Sunday, with a 1 p.m. contest against the Springfield Armor (19-24), they must play Friday evening at the Delaware 87'ers (11-33).
The fourth place Red Claws are nine games behind first place Fort Wayne 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 two weeks to make the post-season.
The Red Claws final eight contests include four road games and four home games. They are a very competitive 12-9 at home, but only 6-15 on the road. After Sunday's tilt, their next, and final, home games are the following weekend 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 21.0 points per game. The NBA undrafted Gaines, who played high school ball in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has made an impressive 40.0 percent of his three-point shots.
Big man Daniel Orton played well in last Sunday's home win with 22 points and 6 rebounds in just 28 minutes. Orton (6-10, 255), who leads the team with 2.05 blocks per game, upped his average to 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 24.7 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 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in only 17.4 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.
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 18-24 (12-9 at home) as of March 20