With his surname echoing that of a certain pugilist, Tim Frazier pulled out a boxing metaphor to explain a come-from-behind 137-130 victory for the Maine Red Claws on Saturday night.

“They threw out the first punch,” Frazier said of the Delaware 87ers jumping to a 17-point lead before halftime. “We sustained it, and were able to come back and win.”

The Claws won for the ninth time in 10 games as Frazier dazzled a crowd of 2,156 at the Portland Expo by dishing out 12 assists, committing zero turnovers and pouring in 34 points – the highest-scoring game of any Red Claw this season – to help Maine (15-3) pull away in the fourth quarter.

“If they don’t have him, it’s a whole other deal,” said Delaware Coach Kevin Young, whose 87ers connected on 17 3-pointers (two more than Maine) and led 118-117 before Frazier and Chris Babb (22 points, 11 rebounds) helped Maine surge ahead over the final six minutes.

Delaware is a Philadelphia affiliate and Frazier, a Penn State grad, played for Philly’s summer league team, and took part in two pre-draft workouts.

“He’s the head of the snake,” Young said. “He does what he wants. He doesn’t let the defense dictate. He’s a special player; he really is.”


Delaware’s biggest lead (64-47) came with less than four minutes remaining in the half. Celtics rookie James Young (27 points) helped whittle that to a seven-point deficit at intermission by draining three consecutive shots from long range.

“I don’t know what Danny Ainge and Coach (Brad) Stevens are seeing, but that guy should be getting minutes for the Celtics,” said Delaware’s Young. “Unless he just had his best games of his life against us. This is my eighth year in the D-League and I’ve seen a lot of assignment players come through. He’s got to be the best one I’ve seen. A guy with that size (6-foot-6) and that shooting ability, he’s tough.”

A potential four-point play by Young with 3.1 seconds left appeared to give the Claws a chance to cut the margin to three but Delaware’s Young successfully challenged the foul call. After a video review, the referees wiped out the basket and instead charged James Young with an offensive foul for kicking out his leg to initiate contact.

The Red Claws took their first lead since 10-9 late in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Andre Stringer that made it 92-91. The game remained close until Babb converted a three-point play just before the shot clock expired, newcomer Cory Jefferson (on assignment from NBA Brooklyn) blocked a shot (one of his four swats on the night) and Frazier, after dribbling in place near half court to run time off the clock, stepped up and swished a 3-point dagger from the top of the key to make it 127-120.

“He’s really tough to stop when he’s got any kind of momentum,” said Maine Coach Scott Morrison of Frazier.

NOTES: Jefferson finished with nine rebounds and 11 points. “He’s can change shots and bail us out every once in a while,” Morrison said of the 6-9 forward from Baylor.

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