PORTLAND – While Shelvin Mack donned a 76ers uniform in Philadelphia on Friday night, his replacement was dishing it out at the Portland Expo.
Andre Barrett made his first start for the Maine Red Claws a record-breaker, handing out 17 assists in a 110-105 win over the Iowa Energy before 2,736 at the Expo.
Maine (14-8) remained atop the D-League East Division while Iowa dropped to 6-14.
How well did the 5-foot-9 Barrett distribute the ball? Four Red Claws scored at least 20 points.
Center Fab Melo led with 26 on 9-of-10 shooting, 8 of 9 from the line. Xavier Silas scored 23. Chris Wright had 22 in his first game in three weeks, and Micah Down recorded 20.
Mack goes to the NBA and the new guy sets a team assist record.
“Andre is a great passer and he’s so experienced,” Red Claws Coach Mike Taylor said. “He’s seen every defensive coverage. He made it easy for our guys.”
Barrett, 30, is in his ninth season, having played in the NBA, the D-League and overseas.
“Just simple basketball when you’ve got players who can score,” Barrett said. “You’ve just got to make plays and get them open.”
And when Maine got the ball to the 7-foot Melo, he responded.
The return of Wright coincided with DaJuan Summers sitting out with a strained quadriceps muscle. Substitute one 6-8 forward for another and Maine still gets the points, plus four rebounds and three blocked shots.
With Maine up 104-102 and 31 seconds left, Iowa’s Morris Almond (27 points) drove. Wright swatted his shot away. Maine recovered and sealed it with free throws — two each by Silas, Barrett and Champ Oguchi.
“I was a little winded but I had a of of fun out there,” Wright said.
Maine had little fun in the first quarter, losing 10 turnovers and falling behind, 29-14.
“There’s a tendency when you play at home to feel comfortable and relax,” Taylor said. “It showed on the court. They pressured us. We didn’t respond. I was really pleased with the way the guys regained their focus.”
NOTES: Mack suited up but did not play in Philadelphia’s OT win over Toronto. The previous Maine assist record was 14, set by Will Blalock in January 2010 Former Red Claws guard Almond returned to the Expo for the first time this season. Almond, who played most of the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons with Maine, was traded to Iowa for a 2013 second-round draft choice.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: