The Red Claw Report is published every Sunday to give fans a look into the Celtics D-League affiliate.
It’s been a weird stretch for the Boston Celtics with a number of random – but minor – injuries, if you even want to call all of them injuries. The status of Marcus Smart, Tyler Zeller and Jordan Michey was up in the air due to various illnesses while James Young has been dealing with an ankle sprain and Avery Bradley was forced to miss the game on Saturday with an Achillies issue.
This meant the Celtics would need all 15 guys up with the team at all times, mostly because they often had no idea who would actually be availbe come game time and this forced the Maine Red Claws to spend most of the week with their own guys and no help from players who are on the Celtics roster. It didn’t really matter though as it was a perfect 3-0 week for the first place Maine Red Claws as they knocked off the Delaware 87ers, Long Island Nets and Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Wednesday: 95-91 victory over Delaware 87ers
Maine averages over 110 points per game this year so it’s a rare occasion to see them dip below triple-digits, but that didn’t stop them from knocking off the 87ers or having a few key offensive performances. The showing that fans will care about the most is 2016 second round draft pick Abdel Nader dropping 25 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks but it was 23-year old Jalen Jones who stole the show. Jones torched Delaware for 31 points on 10-for-18 shooting to go along with a team high nine rebounds, he also pitched in with four assists and a steal. The former Texas A&M standout was named First Team All-SEC last season but ultimately went undrafted in the spring. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Jason Calliste both scored in double-figures as well, dropping 18 and 12 points respectively. 2016 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Shawn Long led the 87ers with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Former Celtic summer league standout Dionte Christmas also had 16 points for Delaware.
Thursday: 123-104 victory over Long Island Nets
The Red Claws got back to their high scoring ways and it was Nader leading the charge. The 2016 second round pick exploded for 32 points and flirted with a triple-double as he snagged ten rebounds and recorded eight assists. This outstanding performance saw the Egyptian born small forward post an insane +29 rating as Maine pulled away in the second half after the two teams were tied at the half. Georges-Hunt helped pour it on with 23 points of his own while Jones, Dallas Lauderdale and Coron Williams all had double-digit scoring outputs as well. A couple of former first round picks had solid games for Long Island in the loss. Chris McCullough – Brooklyn’s 2015 first round pick – scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Tauren Prince – a 2016 first round pick by Atlanta who is playing with Long Island because the Hawks do not have a D-League affiliate of their own – scored 20 points.
Sunday: 111-103 victory over Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Demetrius Jackson has spent most of this season with the Red Claws but numerous injuries kept him out of their last two games. He made the trip up to Maine for this one with the Celtics having a few days off and he wasted no time making an impact, scoring 26 points in 31 minutes off the bench on 9-for-15 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three assists. The 45th overall pick from this past draft is now averaging 18.2 PPG, 5.6 APG and 4.7 RPG while seeing action in 14 of the Maine’s 21 games. As a mark of compassion, Terry Rozier 19.4 PPG, 8.0 APG and 6.4 RPG as a rookie with the Red Claws last season, although Rozier’s shooting percentage was below 40% from the field last year while Jackson is shooting 49.3% from the floor. Georges-Hunt and Jones once again put up big numbers as well, scoring 30 and 25 points respectively. Jones’ 25 points were accompanied by ten rebounds.