PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Maine Red Claws relied on strong performances by Abdel Nader and Jalen Jones to roll to another victory Sunday at the Portland Expo, 116-93 over the Grand Rapids Drive.
Maine (4-1) was led by Nader with 33 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Jones added 15 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists, while Damion Lee added 24 points on 9-15 shooting (5-7 from downtown) to go with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Grand Rapids (2-1) was led by Kevin Murphy with 21 points off the bench.
Marcus Georges-Hunt (8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) got the game started for Maine, following up his triple-double Friday night with the first bucket and then assisting on the second of the game. The Drive went on a 10-0 run, capped off by back-to-back three’s by Murphy and Upshaw to take the lead. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum continued his strong play on the offensive glass, putting back a couple of buckets for the Claws, but at the end of the 1st quarter, Grand Rapids led the game 30-23.
The Red Claws started to get into an offensive rhythm in the second quarter. Nader drained a three to cut the deficit to two. Jones’ three-pointer gave Maine the lead at 35-34. The Red Claws went on an 8-0 run after a technical foul on Drive Head Coach Rex Walters, capped off by a J.J. Panoske offensive rebound which led to a Panoske three-pointer. Nader and Jones capped off the half with trey’s of their own, and Jones rocked the rim to finish off a 9 point, 11 rebound first half. Nader dropped 20 points in the first two quarters, but Jordan Crawford dropped in two three’s for Grand Rapids, and Maine’s lead at the break was 62-57.
The Red Claws entered the third quarter heating up from long distance. Damion Lee drained back-to-back three’s to extend Maine’s lead to 73-63. Coron Williams’ three-ball capped off a 13-3 run for Maine, extending the lead to 14. The Red Claws out-scored the Drive 31-22 in the third period, finishing with a 94-78 lead heading into the fourth. Nader put it away in the fourth quarter, draining a three and then converting a three-point play on the following possession, after grabbing the rebound on defense. The Red Claws’ lead surged to 21 points at 106-85. Williams and the Red Claws bench helped put the game away. Maine shot 50% (41-82) from the floor, and 40% (16-40) from three-point range.