SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – While the NBA is still trying to settle its labor dispute, the D-League opened Friday night and the Maine Red Claws look very much like a work in progress.

One thing the Red Claws might want to work on is cutting down on turnovers, which cost them dearly in their season-opening, 94-87 loss to the Springfield Armor before 2,520 people at the MassMutual Center.

Last season, Springfield beat Maine, 88-85, in its home opener. But this is a different Maine team, with a new coaching staff and a host of new players.

“They made a few more plays than we did, and we gave the ball back by offensive rebounds and turnovers,” said first-year Red Claws Coach Dave Leitao.

Jamar Abrams said the Red Claws could have started the game better and that’s something they will take into their next game, on Dec. 1 at Erie.

“We just didn’t bring that intensity,” he said. “We made a couple of comebacks, but we let it go at the end. We know we can pick it up and play with more intensity for the whole game.”

The Red Claws’ calling card is supposed to be defense and it still may be, especially after limiting the Armor to 33 percent from the field. But Maine had trouble containing Springfield’s run-and-gun attack despite having a size advantage on the Armor.

Both teams appeared to have first-game butterflies after only being together for two weeks.

“We shot 28 percent in the first half and we were up by three, and we shot 33 percent in the second half and we won,” Springfield Coach Bob MacKinnon said. “We’re a good-shooting team and we had some first-game jitters.”

But a 26-14 disadvantage in turnovers doomed the Red Claws.

“Those extra possessions really hang you out to dry,” Leitao said.

J.R. Reynolds led the Red Claws with 22 points. Chris Wright and Durrell Summers each added 16 points.

Jerry Smith led the Armor with 22 points.

Every time the Red Claws would climb back into the game, the Armor would come up with big plays. L.D. Williams helped make a key defensive stop and Smith hit a clutch three-pointer from the top of the key with just under four minutes remaining as the Armor moved to an 81-74 lead.

Maine would never get closer than three points the rest of the game.

“We came back a lot, just not enough,” Leitao said. “We’ve just got to push ourselves more than we did tonight and get ourselves some easy, loose looks at the basket.”

The Red Claws could not stop Springfield’s fast break at the outset of the third quarter and the Armor took full advantage. Springfield started the third quarter with a 10-4 run to build a 53-44 lead. JamesOn Curry connected on a three-pointer as the Armor expanded its lead to 10 points, to 59-49 midway through the quarter.

One of Maine’s biggest mistakes came in the waning seconds of the first half. That’s when Mike Tisdale fouled Eugene Spates, who missed his shot at the buzzer. Given a reprieve, Spates sank both free throws to provide Springfield with a 43-40 lead at intermission.

Both teams were sloppy during the first half and neither team could get into an offensive flow.

The Red Claws led by as many as eight points during the first quarter, but the Armor was able to chip away at the deficit and pulled into a 24-24 tie at the end of the first quarter.