Marcus Landry had a breakout performance Sunday for the Maine Red Claws.

Landry led Maine to a 118-107 victory over the Springfield Armor at the Portland Expo, hitting 8 of 10 from 3-point range while scoring 34 points, his season high since being assigned from the Boston Celtics on March 6.

Maine trailed Springfield 58-52 at halftime but outscored the Armor 29-20 in the third period, with Landry the motivator.

“Marcus was huge. We were sluggish, lethargic, played horrible defense early,” said Maine Coach Austin Ainge. “He carried us. He kept us in it.

“It took him a few games to get his confidence.”

The win came at a good time for the Red Claws, who begin a four-game trip this week that will go a long way to determining the team’s playoff seeding.

Maine needs just two more wins to clinch a playoff berth and can finish anywhere from third to eighth in the final NBA Development League standings.

“Really, the most important thing is to be playing our best basketball,” said Ainge. “I’ve been a little frustrated with these slow starts. I’m anxious to see how we can play against four playoff teams. We’ll see what the real improvement has been.”

Landry, a 6-foot-7 forward, was part of a February trade between the Celtics and New York Knicks and played just one game for Boston.

He said he was a bit dejected with his first trip to the D-League.

“I was frustrated in the beginning. My teammates just kept telling me to keep my head up,” said Landry. “Today was just a great day. Hopefully I can continue to build on it.”

After trailing by six at halftime, Maine rallied to an 81-78 lead after three periods and used a 9-2 run to take a 10-point lead less than two minutes into the final quarter.

Landry scored five during the run on a pair of field goals and a free throw, then added a 3-pointer to ensure the win.

“That was a coming-out game for him,” said Maine guard Maurice Ager, who scored 14 points. “That was good to see.”

Center Paul Davis had 19 points and seven rebounds, and forward Morris Almond had 16 points.

The Red Claws raced through their usual postgame routine to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight out of Portland to Chicago for a connecting flight to Minneapolis before taking a bus to Bismarck, N.D., for a game at 8 tonight against the Dakota Wizards.

That kicks off a stretch of four road games against playoff-caliber teams: Dakota, Sioux Falls and Reno (two games).

“It’s really important for us to play well. We’ve got so much talent, we just have to continue to bond,” said Ager.

“We need to focus on defense. It’s one thing we’ve got to correct for us to be a championship-caliber team.”

NOTES: Mike Williams, who was on the Red Claws’ original roster, ran the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. Former Red Claw Noel Felix made his return to Portland and finished with a team-high 20 points for Springfield.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]


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