PORTLAND — The Maine Red Claws (31-20) face playoff elimination tonight when they host the Canton Charge (32- 19) at 7 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland.

The Red Claws home court at the Portland EXPO is unavailable due to a longtime commitment. Maine lost a 115- 114 heartbreaker in Canton on Tuesday, when Charge guard Quinn Cook drove to the basket and scored on a hooking layup with six seconds to play.

If Maine ties the best-of-three first round series tonight, they will play the deciding game tomorrow also at 7 p.m. at the Cross center. A win tonight would be the Red Claws first-ever playoff game victory in the team’s seven-year history. A loss would be a second consecutive disappointing first round playoff sweep for the two-time Atlantic Division Champions.

On Tuesday, the Red Claws were led by five rookies. Forward Coty Clarke, recently returned from a 10-day contact with the Boston Celtics, scored 25 points with 16 rebounds. Marcus Thornton added 22 points, while Corey Walden and Jordan Mickey (on assignment from Boston) each scored 16 points. Levi Randolph dished 6 assists against only one turnover while scoring 11 points. Second-year player James Young (on assignment from the Celtics) added 11.

Canton’s game one leader, with 30 points, was John Holland, the former Boston University star and college teammate of Deering High School graduate Carlos Strong. Cook added 26 points and 10 assists, forward Nick Minnerath had 25 points and 10 rebounds and point guard Mike Stockton (son of NBA legend John Stockton) pitched in with 21 points and 10 assists with only one turnover.

Maine and the other three division winners in the 19-team D-league, and two wild-card teams from each conference with the next best records, regardless of division, qualified for the playoffs which began on April 5. Each playoff round is best-of-three with the higher seeded team hosting the second and, if needed, third game. In the first round the division winners are playing the wildcard teams.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: