Maine Red Claws (11-4) vs. Springfield Armor (2-13)
8:00PM Friday, January 8, Portland Expo, Portland, Maine
The Maine Red Claws last saw regional rival Springfield Armor (Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets) in early December. The two teams played back-to-back games in Portland, then in Springfield, as they are this Friday and Saturday. The Red Claws won both games by large margins (102-79, 115-89), but since then the Armor have significantly revamped their roster.
However, Springfield’s changes have not improved the fortunes of the franchise. At the time of their second meeting, the Armor were 0-4, starting off with one of the worst records in the D-League. They are now 2-13, in sole possession of the worst record in the D-League. Despite the numerous transactions made in (one presumes) an attempt to improve the team, nothing much has changed for the beleaguered Armor.
G Morris Almond, who they acquired December 10, has been a major contributor, averaging almost 30 points per game. Yet he cannot carry the team - only three players on the Armor are averaging double-digits points per game: F T.J. Cummings, another recent addition, and G JamesOn Curry.
Still, Maine needs to approach this game with caution. They are returning from the D-League Showcase, where they posted two less-than-stellar performances. On Monday they barely defeated the thoroughly mediocre L.A. D-Fenders in a 113-111 nailbiter, then forgot to show up against the Sioux Falls SkyForce on Tuesday, losing 121-102. Maine’s loss to Sioux Falls was the second this season and marks the first time any team has beaten them twice.
They have a chance to recover with this Springfield match-up. If they can continue to dominate their regional rival, they could post a very strong record in January – six of their twelve games this month are against the Armor. So far, the Red Claws have shown an ability to quickly recover from disappointing outings: they’ve yet to lose two in a row during the regular season.
Springfield Armor Changes:
IN: Morris Almond, T.J. Cummings, Chris Lowe, Marcus Campbell
OUT: Adam Harrington, Perrin Johnson, James Cripe, Craig Austrie.
NOTE: None of the cut players have been picked up by another D-League team.