After an impressive win over the league’s best team, the Maine Red Claws play the Erie BayHawks (Cleveland Cavaliers & Toronto Raptors). Maine has already defeated Erie three times this season (116-90, 81-77, 96-75) but the BayHawks have yet to play in Portland. The BayHawks are a fairly new team, having been established for the 2008-2009 season.
Last year they finished 27-23, which was just good enough to earn them a postseason berth, where they lost in the first round to eventual champions Colorado 14ers. Colorado isn’t playing this season, as they’ve been relocated to Frisco, Texas and will re-launch as a new team for the 2010-11 season.
The BayHawks aren’t stocked with NBA talent. Extraordinarily alert Celtics fans will recognize North Carolina product Jackie Manuel. Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember the name – he only signed a 2007 preseason contract with the C’s, being released well before the championship season began. Another BayHawk with NBA experience is Donell Taylor, who played for two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
The BayHawks have had several days of rest since their victory over the Bakersfield Jam on Tuesday. In that game, John Bryant had an impressive double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. The Claws can’t let yesterday’s big win drain their energy, but have to come out fast and never give these guys a chance, as they did on Saturday against the Jam. If they do that, Maine should be able to continue its momentum heading into next week’s D-League Showcase.