Sunday, December 13, 2009

#Red Claws Comeback to Win 87 - 82

Red Claws vs Tulsa 66ers 006


The Maine Red Claws held the Tulsa 66ers to just 4 of 16 shooting in the 3rd quarter and 26 total points in the 2nd half to pull off an astounding 87 - 82 win Sunday night at the Portland Expo. The Claws are now 5 – 1 on the season.

After a 1st half of sleep walking through offense and defense, Head Coach Austin Ainge needed some help.

"Some guys didn't have it tonight" Ainge said, "I had to go a little deeper in the bench and tonight it was Anthony Terrell."

Terrell didn't play at all in the 1st half, but made up for it in the 2nd finishing the game with 9 points, but more importantly had 9 rebounds.

Even though he sat the first half, Terrell said "You have to stay ready at all times, when your name is called, you gotta go out there and perform. That's what brought (me) up here for ."

Terrell's execution along with other key contributions from Trey Gilder, Will Blalock and Darnell Lazare helped the Red Claws erase a 17 point halftime deficit.

Trey Gilder got things going for the Claws with a little under 8 minutes left in the 3rd, with a monster dunk that awoke the 3000 fans in attendance. What followed was an 8 - 0 run sparked by key baskets by Blalock and Terrell set the pace for rest of the game. The Claws clamping down on defense was the key to the game, forcing the 66ers into 3 2nd half shot clock violations.
Darnell Lazare said it was all about trust.

"It was a matter of executing the plan, helping the helper..In a 3 to 4 minute span, we just fed off of that. It shows mental toughness." Lazare said not to discount the reaction of the fans. "The fans were huge tonight. We have the best crowd, it was electric. When we were down and they cheered, we fed off that"

The Claws finished the 3rd quarter strong, closing to within 3 points at 69 - 66. Defense was the name of the game the rest of the way, as the Claws shut down the 3 point threat of the 66ers. Tulsa's Mustafa Shakur (21 Points) and Cecil Brown (16 points), who had shot an amazing 60% from 3 point land in the 1st, finished the game shooting under 35%.

2 key coast to coast drives by Will Blalock (15 points, 6 assists) in the 4th, resulted in another 8 point swing to tie the game at 80 with a little over 4:30 left. Another beautiful Blalock drive resulted in a great pass under the basket to Lazare for the Claws 1st lead since very early in the 1st, 82 - 80. The next possession down the floor got the fans a bot riled as it looked like Tulsa's Shakur bulldozed Will Blalock for the offensive foul, but the ref near the play called the foul on Blalock. The refs conferred and overturned the initial ruling and called the offensive foul with about 3:30 left.

Anthony Terrell came up big again with 2:12 left as he followed a poor 12 footer that clanged off the rim with a huge rebound off a Mustafa Shakur 3 point miss. Bill Walker had had a hard night til that point with foul trouble and lack of flow, got stuffed on a drive, but kept the handle and layed the ball in to put the Claws up 86 - 82 with 54 seconds left. The 66ers worked the ball to thier shooter Shukur, who drove the lane, only to be stripped by Billy Thomas. The bal went out off Shukur's knee to give the Red Claws the ball and the win with 24 seconds left.

With the crowd roaring, Trey Gilder took the last rebound, flung the ball skyward and the Claws went home with the 87 - 82 win. Will Blalock finished with a team high 15 points, followed by Lazare with 14, Ajinca with 12 and Billy Thomas with 10.

GAME NOTES: Guard Mario West missed Sunday’s game with what is called a “anterior ligament strain” and is listed as day to day... Ajinca went 6 - 6 from the free throw line. Red Claws Tony Bobbitt got tossed from the game after getting his 2nd technical foul... His 1st was when he slammed the ball into the chest of Tulsa's Shukur, who was lying on the floor at the time... The Red Claws were down by 20 at the time. Bobbitt's 2nd came from the bench, when Bobbitt said something to the refs... Many people heard what Bobbitt said, but were not willing to share, must have been a good one... Bill Walker had a rough night finishing with only 6 points and 5 personal fouls...
Red Claws vs Tulsa 66ers 020
Abdulai Jalloh pulls up for the 3








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