PORTLAND - The Maine Red Claws cannot say for sure who will be in the lineup Friday or Saturday, but regardless the different combinations are working.
Maine (10-5) plays two 7 p.m. games in the Portland Expo, Friday against the Erie BayHawks (7-5) and Saturday vs. the Canton Charge (8-8).
The Red Claws are likely without the services of 7-foot center Fab Melo, who is recovering from a concussion.
Maine’s other member from the Boston Celtics, guard/forward Kris Joseph, has been with the NBA team the past two weeks. Boston also has a home game Friday night, but the Celtics may prefer Joseph to get playing time in Portland this weekend.
Melo was officially recalled by the Celtics, but that was only to evaluate him. He suffered his concussion when he bumped his head in a hotel room during the Red Claws’ latest trip.
Another player out with a concussion, forward Chris Wright, remains day-to-day.
Without Melo, Joseph and Wright on Monday, the Red Claws still won convincingly over the Springfield Armor, 105-84.
Maine Coach Mike Taylor said players who began the season with a lot of bench time, like center Scott VanderMeer and guard/forward Omar Reed, are filling in just fine.
“These guys have sacrificed a lot for our team,” Taylor said. “Their roles have been different when we’ve had bigger-name players here. When we need them, they have delivered.”
Also, guard Xavier Silas continues to deliver as the team’s new point guard, replacing Shelvin Mack, now signed with the Washington Wizards.
“Can’t say enough good things about X,” Taylor said. “He’s been an excellent perimeter defender and secondary ball-handler. Now he runs the show from the point.
“He’s controlled the tempo really well. He’s made good decisions. He’s helped us execute.”
Maine is 1-2 against Erie this year, including an 85-78 home loss on Dec. 22. The Red Claws are 2-0 against Canton.
Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: