Jordan Mickey was great. NBA veteran Tyler Hansbrough was just a little better.
Mickey spent the night with the Maine Red Claws as they hoped to clinch their first ever playoff series victory on Monday night and the second year pro did not disappoint, scoring 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The 31-year old Hansbrough – who signed with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in March when it became clear that no NBA contract was coming his way – dropped in 27 points of his own and snagged 15 rebounds as the Mad Ants stayed alive and forced a decisive game three. Lining up with an issue that the Boston Celtics have had all season, nine of Hansbrough’s rebounds came on the offensive end as Fort Wayne racked up second chance points as they stormed back from a 15 point deficit.
Boston had also sent down Demetrius Jackson down for this one and he was equally impressive, scoring 15 points while also dishing out ten assists.
The best-of-three series will conclude on Wednesday night and it’s likely that both of the men currently under contract with the Celtics will be available again for the Red Claws, with Boston’s game against Milwaukee carrying seeding implications. If the game had been meaningless, you probably would have seen them both active for the Celtics and getting some NBA minutes as Brad Stevens probably would have looked to reduce the playing time of key rotational pieces.
2016 first round pick Guerschon Yabusele and 2016 second round pick Abdel Nader – neither of whom are currently under contract with the Celtics – both had solid outings as well. Nader scored 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting, although he did commit five turnovers. This is only noteworthy becuase turnovers were a major issue for him all season long, as he led the D-League with 3.7 per game among all players who appeared in at least 15 games; the Egyptian born swingman appeared in 40 of Maine’s 50 regular season games.
Yabusele joined the Red Claws for their playoff run after his season in China came to a close and he also chipped in with a solid performance in the loss, scoring 18 points and snagging nine rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
It’s worth nothing that Marcus Georges-Hunt – who was arguably Maine’s best all-around player during the regular season – has not been with the team during this playoff run after he signed with the Orlando Magic toward the end of the regular season. Georges-Hunt is currently averaging 2.5 PPG though four appearances with the team.