So much for the unbeaten home season.

The Red Claws played a rare Tuesday night D-League basketball game at the Portland Expo and things did not go well. Not only did the Red Claws lose 120-102 to Fort Wayne, they also lost leading scorer Abdel Nader to a shoulder injury.

A crowd of 1,532 saw Nader on the floor in pain after being called for an offensive foul midway through the second quarter. He came up clutching his left shoulder and did not return.

“It’s still a little painful,” Nader said after the game while having an ice pack taped to his shoulder. “I was moving pretty fast. I lowered my shoulder a little bit and then I just felt pain once I landed on the ground.”

Nader said he will see a doctor Wednesday. The Red Claws play outside of Toronto on Saturday afternoon against Raptors 905 and at Erie Dec. 1.

One of Nader’s two assists gave the Red Claws (4-2) their last lead of the game, at 5-4 after a Jalen Jones dunk. The Mad Ants (3-0) responded with a 16-0 run that included four Maine turnovers.


Stephan Hicks led Fort Wayne with 24 points and Alex Poythress added 21. Julyan Stone had 14 assists and 12 points.

“They were number two in the league in points per game (124.3) and we were number one (125.0),” said Fort Wayne Coach Steve Gansey, “so I knew it was going to be an up-tempo, fast-paced game. We’re athletic and quick and we get out and want to push and want to run.”

How bad did it get for the Red Claws in the first quarter? On a Fort Wayne two-on-one break late in the period, Mad Ants rookie guard Jordan Loyd passed up an easy layup in favor of a backboard assist to a trailing Poythress, who dunked over Jason Calliste.

That particularly audacious display of hubris put Fort Wayne on top 34-18.

“I want them to not play like robots,” Gansey said. “I want them to go out there and have fun.”

Damion Lee scored 23 points and Marcus-Georges Hunt 21 for the Red Claws, who scratched back to within three points (41-38) early in the second quarter. Fort Wayne responded with a 12-2 run that included 3-pointers from Stone and Nick Zeisloft and the cushion never dipped below six.


“I thought they brought more energy,” said Red Claws Coach Scott Morrison. “They brought more effort on the glass. They did a better job of not fouling. All the things we did well the last two games, they beat us in those categories (Tuesday night). They deserved to win.”

Fort Wayne held a 40-31 rebounding advantage and shot 24 free throws (making 18) to Maine’s 15 attempts. Point guard Demetrius Jackson, on assignment from the Celtics, had 18 points, five assists and no turnovers in his Expo debut.

Jackson played in all three games of Maine’s season-opening trip to Oklahoma and Texas. He was with the Celtics, however, when the Red Claws won handily Friday night and Sunday afternoon against Long Island and Grand Rapids.

“Great atmosphere,” a generous Jackson said of the half-full Expo. “I heard a lot about the fans here. The city’s beautiful. I got to see it a little bit. All around, just a great experience, even though we didn’t win the game. It’s always fun just to play.”

A Jackson 3-pointer (Maine was 11 of 32 behind the arc, shooting 34.4 percent) early in the third quarter pulled the Red Claws within 62-56. In response, Fort Wayne’s Travis Leslie and Stone sandwiched 3-pointers around a Poythress fast-break layup.

“Our defense wasn’t great,” Morrison said. “Our rebounding wasn’t great. It’s hard to get out and run when you can’t rebound or get stops.”

The Red Claws return to the Expo the first weekend of December, hosting Santa Cruz and Raptors 905.

“They’re a very good basketball team,” Gansey said. “They’re going to win a lot of games this year. I’m just happy we got here and stole one from them.”

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