The Maine Red Claws lost for just the third time in 12 tries, Saturday night in Oshkosh, Wisc., to the Eastern Conference-leading Wisconsin Herd by a score of 134-118. Maine made a game of it after out-scoring the Herd 29-24 in the third quarter to cut the lead to eight, but the game was never in doubt after an explosive run early in the fourth quarter.
There was no Romeo Langford tonight — he’s playing major minutes with the big club. But popular fixture Tacko Fall was in the fold, as well as several other key contributors.
On the offensive glass, the monolithic fan favorite was limited, finishing with just four points on 2 of 5 from the floor. Both of his field goals were two-handed slams cutting to the basket. But defensively he was excellent, grabbing 14 boards and blocking four shots. And to boot, he only turned the ball over twice.
We're used to the New Haven, Conn. native going into hyperdrive, but Saturday was a bit of a downshift. He was 0-fer from three-point range, and that contributed heavily to a 7 for 19 night from the floor overall. Still, he finished with 16 points to lead all Red Claws starters, and notched eight assists to just two turnovers.
The former Auburn star logged 30 minutes and was en fuego from deep (5 of 7 on three's). But those 15 points came with some empty minutes. He shot just 38 percent from the field overall, and his minus-32 was more than twice the next-worst plus-minus total for Maine (Sheldon Jeter, minus-14). He also led the Red Claws in turnovers (3).
The most productive nights belonged to Yante Maten (34 points, 15 rebounds) and Jaysean Paige (26 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) off the bench. In all, bench points accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Red Claws' scoring output.
The Red Claws are 10-3 since the start of the New Year, and that's good enough to keep them in second place in the G League’s Eastern Conference.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Thunder, which begins Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 3:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.