Red Claws cruise in season opener

(NEWS CENTER)-- The Maine Red Claws used hot shooting and strong defense to shut down the Oklahoma City Blue, 127-105.

The Red Claws were led by Abdel Nader – the Boston Celtics’ 2nd Round NBA Draft pick paced the Red Claws with 28 points on 11-21 shooting. Demetrius Jackson, a fellow Celtics Draft pick and on assignment from the Celtics, added 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for Maine. Marcus Georges-Hunt added 20 points on 7-10 shooting off the bench, and Jalen Jones recorded the first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The score wouldn’t indicate it, but the Red Claws (1-0) actually started the game slowly on offense. Former Red Claw Chris Wright helped lead an early charge with 7 points in the 1st quarter, and Oklahoma City (0-1) jumped out to a 15-7 lead in the opening minutes. Maine would weather the storm, with Jackson, Georges-Hunt and Coron Williams leading the charge. At the end of the first period, the Blue lead was down to 23-22. The Red Claws poured it on in the 2nd quarter, jumping out to an 18-6 run to start things off, taking the lead for good. Led by Nader and Jones, the Claws finished the second scoring 41 points and out-scoring the Blue 41-32. Maine led 63-55 at halftime.

In the second half, the Red Claws continued to shoot at a high percentage, extending the double-digit lead beyond 20 points. Once again, the Red Claws started the quarter hot, on a 16-4 run to take a 79-59 lead. Nader and Williams converted on back-to-back possessions after that, and the rout was on. After winning the 3rd quarter 36-26, the Red Claws led the Blue 99-81 after three. Maine could cruise to victory in the 4th quarter.

Maine shot 49% (40-81) from the floor and 43% (13-30) from three-point range. The Red Claws also shot 77% (24-31) as a team from the free throw line. Oklahoma City shot 45% (38-84) from the field, but turned the ball over 26 times in the loss. Maine had 16 steals as a team in the win.

The Red Claws travel to Texas tomorrow night for a showdown with the Legends. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. EST

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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