January 2, 2013

Red Claws: Winning despite losing

The Red Claws hold the league's best record even as players head to the NBA.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Xavier Silas is one of the Maine Red Claws players who could get a look by NBA teams when the window opens Monday for D-League players to move up with 10-day contracts. Still, the team isn’t worried because of its depth of talent put together by the parent Boston Celtics.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Micah Downs, right, got a chance to play in the NBA during exhibition games with the Boston Celtics, and would love another opportunity.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


WHO: Erie BayHawks vs. Maine Red Claws

WHEN: 7 p.m.


Portland Expo

If none of the Red Claws' star players end up signing with Boston, Ainge said there are still benefits for creating a talent-rich team.

Firstly, the Celtics get a first-hand look at the Maine players in practice and games.

"It helps us evaluate them for the Celtics when we have them here," Ainge said.

Secondly, if several players move on to the NBA, Maine will have the reputation as a place where players can develop their skills, meaning more good players will want to come here.

Mack thrived in Maine because the Red Claws use the same plays as the Celtics.

"I've been able to put up some Rondo-type numbers because of the system we play in," said Mack, who averaged over seven assists a game, including some efforts in double figures at the end of his stay with Maine.

And with good talent in Maine, the Celtics players here -- Melo and Joseph -- have solid competition to play against in practice, as well as playing for a winning team.

So what happens when good players leave the Red Claws?

"Our philosophy is next man up," Taylor said.

The Red Claws got a taste of that recently. Mack has been gone for four games, as has Joseph (playing with the Celtics) and Wright (out with a concussion).

Also, Melo missed the last game because of a concussion.

Out of those four games, Maine won three.

"We went 3-1 and we didn't have key guys," said center Scott VanderMeer, who replaced Melo on Monday and scored 14 points.

"We can do it with them and without them. We've got a core group of guys who can play basketball."

Maine plays two home games this weekend, Friday and Saturday night. The Red Claws don't expect to lose any more top players -- yet.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:


Twitter: KevinThomasPPH


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Additional Photos

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Shelvin Mack was brought back to the Washington Wizards, and the Maine Red Claws have won three of the four games since he departed.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Chris Wright is one of the three current Red Claws players who have been in the NBA, and he’ll get a chance to impress during the D-League’s showcase next week in Reno, Nev.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer


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