SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – With the big boss watching from the end of the bench, perhaps the Maine Red Claws tried a bit too hard to make a good impression.

Missing was the strong inside presence and offensive rebounding Maine displayed during its first two games with Springfield, and the Armor took advantage to earn a 116-112 NBA D-League triumph over the Red Claws Thursday night before 1,836 at the MassMutual Center.

Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, took in the proceedings for the third meeting in seven nights between the two rivals. But Springfield presented a different look, with a pair of reinforcement from NBA teams.

Terrence Williams, who was sent down by the New Jersey Nets, had a triple-double for the Armor. The former Louisville forward scored 16 points, had 15 rebounds and dished out 13 assists in his Armor debut.

Former No. 1 draft pick Craig Brackens also made his presence felt in his first game since joining the Armor from the Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 16 points with seven rebounds and four assists.

“Their big guys played hard and they really were a difference out there,” Maine Coach Austin Ainge said. “In the end, their guards made a lot of big shots.”

One of those larger players was 6-foot-9 forward Vernon Goodridge, who had 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

Williams drained a basket with 2:27 remaining to give the Armor the lead for good, 101-99.

Scottie Reynolds — who beat the buzzer to help the Armor earn an 88-85 win over the Red Claws last week — intercepted a pass with his team clinging to a 102-99 advantage. Maine never got closer than three points the rest of the way.

“We had a couple of turnovers down the stretch and we couldn’t quite get the stops we needed,” Ainge said.

Reynolds led all scorers with 26 points and was hot in crunch time.

“They’re a better team with those two new additions, but I actually thought we played pretty well,” Ainge said. “We just didn’t make the plays we needed down the stretch.”

Tiny Gallon had 15 points for the Red Claws.

“It was another great battle and they just came out with the victory, but we played hard right until the clock read zero,” Gallon said. “I started to get aggressive in the second half and running the floor. I just missed too many layups I could have had.”

Matt Janning made a good first impression for the Red Claws, scoring 17 points. Janning, a 6-foot-4 guard from Northeastern, started the season with the Phoenix Suns but was waived two weeks ago.

“Matt played great,” Ainge said. “He really knows how to play and he picked things up quick. His defense was key.”

The Red Claws went on a 9-2 run late in the third quarter — capped by Champ Oguchi’s 3-pointer — to close to within 72-70. Jamar Smith’s jumper from the right corner just before the quarter ended cut the Armor’s lead to 79-76.

The lead changed 19 times during the first half. A basket by Mario West with 2:45 left in the first quarter gave the Red Claws their biggest lead, 25-20. West paced Maine with 21 points.


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