PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER) - The Maine Red Claws (2-0) jumped out to an early lead and controlled the game through the first three quarters, only to see the visiting Los Angeles D-Fenders (2-0), 97-94. A boisterous sell-out crowd turned out for the Red Claws home opener.
A 14-4 run in the 4th quarter, sparked by a pair of Shelvin Mack three pointers gave Maine an 88-81 lead with 5:55 left in the game, but they were unable to hold on as the Los Angeles D-Fenders scored the go ahead basket and added a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to spoil the Red Claws home opener, 97-94.
Maine opened the game with a monstrous alley-oop dunk from Mack to Chris Wright, who added 6 more points from behind the arc, and cruised to a 27-14 first quarter lead. They would not trail in the first half, taking a 47-45 lead into the locker room.
Los Angeles took their first lead of the contest on a Courtney Fortson three pointer less than a minute into the second half, and the teams battled back and forth throughout the third quarter with neither team seeing a lead bigger than four. Maine closed out the quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a Champ Oguchi jump shot with 0.6 seconds remaining, to take a 72-69 lead.
Los Angeles closed the game strong behind a strong second half from Darius Johnson-Odom, who scored in 15 of his game-high 24 points in the decisive half. Johnson-Odom also had 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Courtney Fortson contributed 21 points and 6 rebounds and Orien Greene chipped in 17 for the D-Fenders.
For the Red Claws, Wright had 19 points and 7 rebounds, Xavier Silas scored 16 with 6 rebounds and Mack also scored 16 with 9 assists. Micah Downs scored 22, with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and several big defensive stops to take home the Adidas Player of the Game honors in the losing effort.
The Red Claws will host the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday at 1 PM before heading to Erie to take on the BayHawks on Thursday.