It wasn’t the best shooting night for Red Claws point guard Tim Frazier, who missed nine of his 10 attempts from the field, but his teammates picked up the slack in a 115-101 NBA D-League victory over the Iowa Energy before a crowd of 1,892 Thursday night at the Portland Expo.

“That’s the thing about a team,” said Frazier, who fell three points shy of his second consecutive triple-double stat line, finishing with 13 assists and 10 rebounds. “Other guys stepped up and knocked down shots and we got the ‘W.’ That’s all that matters.”

The Red Claws improved to 23-15 and remain in first place in the Atlantic Division with a month left in the regular season. Iowa, which led by three after one quarter and tied the score at 57 heading into intermission, dropped to 17-21.

Coty Clarke and Omari Johnson each sank five 3-pointers as six Red Claws scored in double figures, led by Clarke’s 27. They each connected from long range on passes from Frazier after Iowa had cut a 20-point deficit to 98-94 in a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.

“We have to give them credit for battling,” said Maine Coach Scott Morrison. “They could have packed it in but they kept coming. We made a couple good reads after that and settled down.”

At a solid 6-foot-7, Clarke often guards opposing centers such as 7-foot Ty Walker of Iowa, giving away height but creating offensive opportunities because of his outside touch and ability to drive.


“Teams kind of have a choice,” Morrison said. “They can either give him open shots because their big (guy) is down in the paint, or they can match up with us and go small.”

Some teams have found success with shorter lineups against Maine.

“But at least in that case we’re making them match up to us,” Morrison said. “Sometimes when they go small against us he can go down inside and score in there.”

Clarke also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Thursday marked the sixth time in seven games he has led the team in scoring.

“We like to get paint touches and kick it out,” Clarke said. “By having a big on me, I can drive and get to the lane or bring it out if they sag so we can open up our offense. It creates more options for my teammates to get open.”

Johnson and Malcolm Miller each scored 17 points. Corey Walden had 18 after his career-high 33 on Sunday. R.J. Hunter and Levi Randolph came off the bench to contribute 14 and 13 respectively.


A successful challenge from Morrison with a little more than three minutes remaining overturned a foul call on Hunter on a driving basket by Iowa’s Mardracus Wade. Instead of a chance to cut the margin to six, Wade was called for charging and fouled out of the game.

Frazier proceeded to find Hunter in traffic for a layup and the cushion was back up to 11.

NOTES: Marcus Thornton, the only one of four 2015 Celtics draft picks who has yet to play for the Red Claws, practiced with the team Wednesday but was inactive Thursday night. Thornton, chosen 45th overall, is the career scoring leader at William & Mary and spent this winter in Australia playing for the Sydney Kings.

Although not on the Celtics roster, Thornton cannot be signed by any other NBA team this season because Boston controls his draft rights. He is expected to suit up for Maine on Saturday in Toronto.

Ella Ellis, the West Point graduate who made his pro basketball debut for the Red Claws in November and returned to the Army in late January as a first lieutenant, was recently deployed to the Middle East.

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