Maine Red Claws (23-15) vs. Iowa Energy (31-10)
7:30 PM Friday, March 12, at the Portland Expo
5:00 PM Sunday, March 14, at the Portland Expo
The Maine Red Claws have two monster showdowns this weekend, as they face the the East – and league – leading Iowa Energy (Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns) twice, Friday and Sunday.
These teams have only met up once this year, and on a rare weekday matinee on December 31, the Red Claws won 95-88 at home. They played a good, close game with Jeff Trepagnier and Earl Barron – both of whom are still with Iowa – combining for 47 points, while no Red Claw had more than 20. The Claws were blessed that day by the absence of Cartier Martin, who has been effectively running the offense of the best team in the D-League all season. We can expect to see him in action this weekend.
Tonight, Maine’s tandem of big men – Paul Davis and Kurt Looby – will hopefully be able to contain Iowa’s high-flying offense: this is a team that scored 130 points in a a loss earlier this season. The Red Claws did contain Sioux Falls fairly effectively last week; if they can put a similar (or better) effort forward over the weekend, they should be competitive against the best team in the league.
Maine and Iowa have had almost the same amount of time off, so that shouldn’t be a factor. Indeed, not only have both teams lost their last games, they have similar records over their last ten: Maine is 5-5 and Iowa is 6-4. Both teams are looking to start another hot streak heading into the home stretch of the season and position themselves for the playoffs. Maine has a chance this weekend to rebound, make a statement, and pull closer to the conference leaders.
Let’s hope they don’t blow it.