Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
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Funny what a couple of NBA players can do for your team.
The Springfield Armor sported one of the worst records in the NBA D-League. But since adding forward Toko Shengelia and guard Tyshawn Taylor from the Brooklyn Nets, the Armor have knocked off two of the best teams in the league - the Maine Red Claws (123-115 on Thursday) and the Santa Cruz Warriors (111-100 on Saturday night).
Shengelia scored 39 points against Maine on Thursday, and 24 against Santa Cruz. Taylor scored 21 Thursday and 26 Saturday night.
Springfield (8-15) plays the Red Claws at 3 p.m. today at the Portland Expo.
They lost. And they looked horrible in defeat.
We're talking roundball, not that other sport that just ended for New England fans.
Maybe the best thing the Boston Celtics can say after their 103-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons Sunday night is that few may have noticed, with New England fans focused on their Patriots.
But noticed or not, Sunday's performance points out a lot of problems with the Celtics. As Doc Rivers said to reporters in Detroit: "I just don't think we have committed to being a good basketball team. I think this team wants everything easy." See Gary Washburn's story in the Globe.
A key part of the Maine Red Claws' early success was their first-round draft pick, point guard Shelvin Mack.
He was averaging 20.2 points and 7.1 assists and appeared to be getting better and better. Then the Washington Wizards signed him on Christmas.
The Wizards, whom Mack played for all last season, needed help with guards John Wall and A.J. Price injured.
Mack played seven games, starting two. He averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 assists. But Mack was waived Monday. Both Wall and Price are again practicing and if the Wizards kept Mack beyond Monday, they would have had to guarantee his contract for the rest of the year (the same reasoning behind the Celtics waiving Kris Joseph on Sunday).
The Maine Red Claws roster contained 13 players Sunday afternoon. But how many players will take to the court this Tuesday and Wednesday, when Maine plays in the D-League Showcase in Reno, Nev.?
When the Boston Celtics waived forward Kris Joseph Sunday night, it affected the Red Claws, Boston's D-League affiliate. Joseph was one of two Celtics players who often suited up for Maine.
Center Fab Melo is the other Celtics player on the Red Claws roster, but he is out with a concussion.
The Maine Red Claws signed former Georgetown forward Dajuan Summers, 24, on Monday, and waived center Brian Cusworth.
Summer, 6-foot-8, has NBA experience with the Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Hornets last season. He was cut by the Hornets in training camp this year.
The 7-foot Cusworth, a former Harvard player, was one of four centers on the Red Claws roster. Cusworth played in three of Maine’s four games, averaging only 3.7 minutes a game.
“There were not any minutes at that spot, so we wanted to let Brian find opportunity elsewhere,” said Austin Ainge, the Celtics director of player personnel.