PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws, weathered an early offensive barrage from the Atlantic Division leading Westchester Knicks and pulled away for their third straight win and fourth out of the last five Saturday night in the Portland Expo Building, 119-105.
The Red Claws (17-13) got off to an early lead, but the Knicks (18-13) sparked an 11-0 run to build a 15-5 lead, but the Red Claws got their 3-point shot working, cutting the lead to 23-20 late. Westchester turned on the offense to push the lead up to 36-28 after one.
Maine came out gunning in the second quarter, quickly regaining the lead with a 15-6 run. The two teams would trade shots throughout the period. Late in the second, the Knicks retook the lead and carried it into the locker room, going into the break with a 61-59 lead.
In the first half, Westchester shot a blazing 62 percent (26-42), but Maine was able to keep it close by knocking down 52 percent of its 3-pointers (13-25).
The Red Claws opened the third quarter with a 15-4 run after back-to-back Knicks baskets to open up a five-point lead midway through the quarter, only to be answered by an 8-2 that gave Westchester the lead back. A Maine 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining tied it at 83 and the teams traded baskets and free throws to knot the score at 89 heading into the final quarter.
In the final frame, Maine was able to pull away, answering every Westchester basket with three or four points of their own. The Red Claws iced the victory in the final five minutes, closing out with a 14-4 run while holding the Knicks scoreless in the final 1:45.
Gani Lawal led all scorers with 20 points and added nine blocks for the Knicks. Jimmer Fredette (18 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Jordan Bachynski (16 points, six rebounds, five blocks), Travis Trice II (13 points, seven assists), Damien Inglis, on assignment from the Milwaukee Bucks (11 points, six rebounds) and Darion Atkins (10 points, three blocks) round out the Westchester players in double figures.
Maine was led by Levi Randolph (10 points, six rebounds), while also getting solid contributions from Coty Clarke (18 points, nine rebounds, five assists), Andre Stringer (15 points, seven assists), Omari Johnson (15 points, two blocks), Corey Walden (13 points, four assists, four rebounds), Davion Berry (12 points, five assists, four rebounds), Coron Williams (12) and Malcolm Miller (11 points, four rebounds, two blocks).