The G League basketball season is a little over a week old, and the Maine Celtics won’t play again in Portland until early December, but already DJ Steward is having a blast.

“We really enjoy being around each other, playing with each other,” said the backup point guard, who came close to achieving a triple-double in Maine’s 134-95 victory over the Long Island Nets before a Sunday matinee crowd of 2,045 at the Portland Expo. “We’re very unselfish with each other. It’s going to be a fun year.”

Steward started the season’s first two games, both road losses, before coming off the bench in Friday night’s come-from-behind victory in the home opener against a Long Island team that came to town with a 3-0 record. He finished that nip-and-tuck game with 17 points and eight rebounds. On Sunday, he grabbed nine rebounds – more than anyone on either squad – while also contributing eight assists and 20 points.

By watching the opening minutes from a courtside seat, “I get to see the pace of the game, how the flow is going, how the refs are calling the game,” said Steward, who knocked down four of his five 3-point attempts. He said he also looks for “places where I can get my shots and where I can set up my teammates.”

Steward was one of four Celtics to score at least 20 points. Jordan Walsh, the 19-year-old Boston Celtics rookie, had 24. Shooting guard Jordan Schakel (6 of 8 from deep) added 22, and point guard JD Davison had 22 points and 11 assists.

The Celtics (2-2) opened a 26-4 lead and never allowed that margin to slip into single digits. They shot better from behind the 3-point line (24 of 43, or 56%) than they did from closer to the basket (20 of 36), and in each quarter outscored a Long Island squad that had given them all they could handle Friday night.


“They’re a really good team,” Maine Coach Blaine Mueller said of the Nets, whose lineup included two players on assignment from the Brooklyn Nets and two more on two-way contracts with Brooklyn. “So that same level, of what we did (Friday night), isn’t going to be enough.”

Of course, shooting 56% on 3-pointers spells almost certain victory, Mueller said. However, by holding an opponent to 95 points, “it doesn’t matter if you’re having a good shooting night or not,” he said, “you’re going to have a chance down the stretch to win the game.”

Walsh is the lone Boston Celtics player on assignment to Maine. Davison and forward Nathan Knight, a three-year veteran of the NBA, are on two-way contracts, as is 7-foot center Neemias Queta, who has remained with Boston since the season began.

Queta’s presence wasn’t necessary Sunday, as eight players contributed to Maine’s scorching outside shooting. Tony Snell, a 32-year-old veteran of six NBA clubs, made his first three 3-point attempts and five of his first six. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

“The Celtics organization is building championship habits,” Snell said. “And I want to help the young guys grow. Share my knowledge, and help myself grow as well.”

The opening run included 3-pointers from Snell, Walsh, Schakel and Davison. The home team’s lead grew to 70-47 at halftime and 109-77 after three quarters. Apart from all the long-range success, the game’s highlight was an alley-oop pass from Davison that center Kylor Kelley flushed with his left hand late in the third quarter.

“I guess the word of the day was more,” Walsh said. “Everybody kind of bought into that. Whether we were up by 20, 30, six, whatever it is, we needed more. It was never enough.”

The Celtics play their next five games on the road before returning to Portland for a five-game homestand starting Dec. 6.

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