When the Boston Celtics promoted Chris Babb to the NBA, they gave him a chance to chase his dream.
But the Celtics did not do their NBA D-League affiliate any favors.
The Maine Red Claws not only miss the clutch 3-pointers Babb provided, they miss his defense and intensity. That became apparent Friday night as the Canton Charge routed the Red Claws 109-91 at the Portland Expo.
Canton cruised to a 33-17 first-quarter lead, and the advantage never got under double digits.
The Charge shot 49 percent as Maine Coach Mike Taylor stood by, usually with his hands in his pockets, watching his defense get shredded.
“Really disappointed in the focus of our team,” Taylor said. “We came out and made a lot of defensive game-plan mistakes. We took too many shortcuts.
“The free-throw shooting (13 for 25) was another sign that the guys were not focused the way they need to be.”
Taylor did not using Babb’s absence as an excuse.
“Chris got the call-up, but that’s an opportunity for our other players,” Taylor said. “And we didn’t handle that opportunity well.”
Even with Babb, Maine might not have had a chance against Canton, which leads the D-League’s East Division with a 23-14 record. The Charge, who lost a close game to Maine on Thursday, have lost on consecutive days only once this year.
“This team does a phenomenal job of bouncing back,” Canton Coach Steve Hetzel said. “They learn from the game before.”
Conversely, the Red Claws (15-21) have had little success in back-to-back games (7-14).
The Red Claws ensured defeat Friday by committing 24 turnovers. They dropped into a third-place tie in the division with Springfield, 71/2 games behind Canton. The Red Claws can expect to watch film on Saturday.
“One of those games we’ll use as a learning situation,” Taylor said. “We’ll show the guys the mistakes that were made and help these young guys get better.”
Chris Wright again led Maine with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Frank Gaines scored 14 points, and Damen Bell-Holter hit jumpers for 13 points. Tyshawn Brown drove in for 12 points. Sherwood Brown, a rookie from Florida Gulf Coast, made his first professional start and responded with eight points and 12 rebounds.
Canton was led by former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Jones, who recorded 27 points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Jorge Gutierrez added 14 points and 13 assists.
The Red Claws return to the Expo on Sunday for a 4 p.m. game against the Austin Toros. The game was moved to a later time to accommodate CBS Sports Network.
NOTES: Babb could make his Boston debut Saturday when the Celtics play host to Indiana at 8 p.m. Babb was in the Celtics’ training camp. “His familiarity with us and our familiarity with his character, it’s one of the reasons why he’s here,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens told CSNNE.com. … The announced paid attendance was a sellout at 3,045. … Canton guard Brandon Paul hit three 3-pointers before leaving in the second quarter because of a dislocated shoulder.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: