The Maine Red Claws (16-28) staved off elimination from playoff contention, if possibly for only a few hours, with a big come-from-behind win over the visiting Texas Legends (20-25). A loss by Maine or a win by 8th place Fort Wayne will end the Red Claws’ hopes of making their first postseason appearance. The Mad Ants face the #1 Iowa Energy tonight in Iowa at 5 PM. With the loss, the Texas Legends fall 1.5 games behind Fort Wayne for the final playoff slot.
The Red Claws and Legends squared off for the second time in three nights, with both teams getting off to a rocky start early on. The difference in the first quarter came from the charity stripe with Texas shooting 80% (4-5) while Maine was a dismal 11.1% (1-11). By game’s end, the Legends posted an impressive 94.1% (16-17) from the free throw line while Maine battled back to finish at 51.9% (14-27).
Texas seemed to have the game well in hand, pulling ahead of the hometown favorites 55-41 at the end of two and holding firm at 82-71 at the end of three. The Red Claws veteran guard Mario West took control in the third, pumping up the sold out crowd – the 47th consecutive packed house at the Portland Expo – as the two teams battled to the clock’s end with the score knotted at 101-101. Maine outscored the visiting Legends 6-4 in the extra stanza to take the 107-105 overtime win.
Rookie of the Year candidate DeShawn Sims continued his stellar play, leading the Red Claws with 30 points; Sims entered the night as the leading rookie scorer in the league and 6th overall. Mario West made his presence known with 22 keys points and 8 rebounds while rookie center Magnum Rolle rounded out the Red Claws’ scorers in double figures with 16 points and 11 assists.
Texas guard Justin Dentmon led all scorers with 32 points, while guard Dominique Johnson added 14 and forward Antonio Daniels kicked in 16 to lead five Legends players in double digits. Matt Rogers picked up the double-double for Texas with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Red Claws will head west for a pair at Utah Tuesday and Thursday before closing out the week at Bakersfield with a weekend set. The Legends will travel to Tulsa to take on the 66ers on Friday.