April 5, 2013

Claws' job: Win two or else

Maine makes the playoffs with weekend wins, is out with two losses, and a split, well … help needed.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The Maine Red Claws didn't reach the D-League playoffs in their three previous seasons.

click image to enlarge

Maine's Chris Wright drives around Kyle Weaver of the Canton Charge in a March 10, 2013, game at the Portland Expo. This weekend the Red Claws can guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

D-LEAGUE PLAYOFF RACE

The six teams competing for the last four D-League playoff spots:

Austin (27-21)

Fort Wayne (26-22)

Tulsa (26-23)

Sioux Falls (25-23)

Maine (25-23)

Erie (25-23)

NOTE: Maine holds the tiebreaker advantage against Austin, Fort Wayne and Erie.

This weekend the Red Claws can guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason.

Maine (25-23) closes out its schedule with two games at the Erie BayHawks, tonight and Saturday, both at 7 p.m.

If Maine wins both games, it makes the playoffs.

If the Red Claws lose both games, they don't.

If Maine wins one and loses one then it gets complicated.

The Red Claws are one of the six teams competing for the final four playoff berths.

Bakersfield (34-14) and Santa Cruz (32-16) have qualified out of the West Division. Rio Grande Valley (33-15) has clinched the Central Division and Canton (28-20) has won the East.

The remaining six contenders are Austin (27-21), Fort Wayne (26-22), Tulsa (26-23), Sioux Falls (25-23), Maine and Erie.

In case of ties, head-to-head competition and records against winning teams are tiebreakers. Sioux Falls and Tulsa have the advantage over Maine. The Red Claws have the advantage over Austin, Fort Wayne and Erie.

So what happens if Maine and Erie split their games this weekend? The Red Claws would need help.

With a split against Erie, Maine makes the playoffs if Austin, Fort Wayne or Sioux Falls loses both of its remaining games.

Fort Wayne plays at Sioux Falls tonight, then at Tulsa on Saturday. Sioux Falls is at Iowa (12-36) on Saturday. Austin plays two games at Rio Grande Valley.

Tulsa lost to Iowa 118-112 in double overtime Thursday night.

Maine will be challenged to sweep the BayHawks in Erie. The Red Claws' last game was March 28, a come-from-behind 109-102 win over Erie.

The Red Claws are led by Jermaine Taylor, who has averaged 30.2 points since signing with Maine six games ago.

NOTE: The Red Claws won't get forward DuJuan Summers backs this year. Summers had signed two 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers. On Thursday, the Clippers signed him for the rest of the season.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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