Red Claws Bring In The New Year, Fly By BayHawks

Mario West and Alexis Ajinca Walk off the court following a Red Claws victory over Erie.
Mario West and Alexis Ajinca Walk off the court following a Red Claws victory over Erie.

With the lack of positive Boston Celtics news to report lately I have somewhat tried to shift my focus to something more positive. Lately that has been the red hot play of the Maine Red Claws, the Boston Celtics NBDL affiliate. Now that I am in Maine for a few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend the last two games in Portland. The first being a win over the league leading Iowa Energy (12-1) , and the second being last night’s game against the Erie BayHawks (4-10).

 It was a snowy evening last night in northern New England as fans packed into the Portland Expo for a 5pm matchup against the BayHawks. Going into the game the Red Claws had already defeated Erie three times on the year and were expected to come out with a victory.

Ajinca clears way for a Trey Gilder jumper.

Ajinca clears way for a Trey Gilder jumper.

The team once again started out red hot as they jumped out to a very early double digit lead. The Red Claws starters clearly out played the BayHawks starters for most of the game behind strong performances from Alexis Ajinca and Mario West. Ajinca had his way with anyone that the Bay Hawks threw at him including 6ft 11 center John Bryant.

The Red Claws took a 17 point lead into the locker room but apparently left their game in there when they came out to play the second half. The two teams swapped baskets for the better part of the third quarter before the BayHawks, behind former Washington Wizard, Ivan Harris, charged back to close the lead to seven points at the end of the third quarter.

What you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t at the game was the fact that the BayHawks closed in on this lead with the Red Claws starters on the bench. Coach Austin Ainge quickly got Ajinca and West back into the game and the Red Claws closed out the game defeating the BayHawks 94-86.

Former Washington Wizard Ivan Harris at the line.

Former Washington Wizard Ivan Harris at the line.

Ajinca led the team with 19 points, along with 14 rebounds, for a very solid double-double. For those of you not familiar with the Red Claws, Ajinca is a member of the Charlotte Bobcats and was recently assigned to Maine. Mario West, a former Cleveland Cavalier also had a very solid performance with 16 points. Ivan Harris led the BayHawks with 20 points, while UNC product Jackie Manuel dropped in 17.

Overall a great game for the Red Claws, this expansion team is quickly proving they are force to not be reckon with. They currently stand one and a half game back of the Iowa Energy for the best record in the division. If you are a Red Claws fan keep supporting them, and if you haven’t been to a game get out and support the team!!!

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