The Red Claws said goodbye for now to Maine on Sunday, closing out their home schedule with a 112-103 loss to the Lakeland Magic before a crowd of 2,417 at the Portland Expo.

It was, appropriately, the 10th sellout of the season in the team’s 10th year as a basketball franchise.

The Claws (19-28) have three road games remaining, at Erie on Wednesday, Westchester on Thursday and Delaware on Saturday. Unlike Lakeland (29-18), they won’t be in the playoffs.

After a nip-and-tuck first half, the Claws sputtered midway though the third quarter and found themselves behind by 13. They managed to cut the deficit to six entering the fourth and actually surged ahead 88-85 when P.J. Dozier floated an alley-oop pass to John Bohannon for a dunk.

The Magic then took the lead for good with a 13-2 run fueled by four Maine turnovers. Dozier, who with R.J. Hunter is under a two-way contract with the parent Boston Celtics, finished with six of the team’s 22 turnovers Sunday.

“Taking care of the ball, that’s what I need to do a lot better,” Dozier said. “That’s where we lost it.”

Plenty of turnover is expected before the team returns to the Expo in the fall. Brandon Bailey, named head coach in 2017 after a three-year run by Scott Morrison produced three straight Atlantic Division titles and the franchise’s first playoff victory, is unlikely to be back.

The Claws went 17-33 in Bailey’s rookie season, his first as a head coach at any level after rising through the Celtics’ organization, where he made a name for himself as a hard-working video coordinator with a knack for defense.

“I feel like I’ve been stretched a lot with this experience and dealing with a bunch of different things I never would have dealt with in Boston, and never even thought about before,” Bailey said. “It’s been challenging, but it’s been good because of that. If I’m ever fortunate enough to coach in the NBA or be back in Boston with Coach (Brad) Stevens, I feel like the experience I’ve had here can help me help him, because of what I’ve gone through and what the team has gone through.”

Typical of the G-League lifestyle, the 47th game of the Red Claws season included someone making his Maine debut. Thomas Robinson, a 2012 lottery draft pick who has suited up for six NBA teams, played 28 minutes after signing with the Claws an hour before tipoff. He wound up with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“The team is still playing hard,” said Robinson, who played much of this winter in China. “You can’t tell they’re out of the playoffs. That’s definitely a good sign. I’m just happy to be a part of them for this last week.”

Hunter led the Claws with 21 points. Andrew White had 16, and Bohannon and Archie Goodwin each finished with 14.

Gabe York of Lakeland scored 27 points.

After next weekend, Dozier and Hunter and likely to join the Celtics for the rest of the NBA season.

“I had a great experience here in Portland,” said Dozier, a two-way player for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. “Some games, we would be warming up in our pregame shoot and say, ‘Oh man, it’s going to be empty.’ Next thing you know, we run out and the stands are full. So that was a great experience, seeing the support they have here in Maine.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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