Things did not start off well for the Red Claws, who came out behind early and often as this game got going. At first, it seemed as though everything that could go wrong was, as the Claws struggled to even stay within sight of the Armor initially. Somehow, though, Maine managed to keep it relatively close, mainly behind the shooting of Marcus Landry, who knocked in 14 points in the first half alone. Tonight was Landry’s night, as he wouldn’t let up in the second half, either. However, Maine still limped along to a 58-52 deficit at halftime, trailing the worst team in the D-League.
However, that wouldn’t last for long. Coming out of the gate behind a rejuvenated Paul Davis, the Red Claws roared back into the game, turning a six-point deficit into a three-point advantage. Davis only had five points in the first half, but finished with 19, with 10 of those coming in the third quarter. He was certainly one of the leaders fighting to keep the Red Claws in this game, taking control of the game in the third quarter.
While it may have been Davis who got them a narrow lead, it would be Landry who put the Armor away in the fourth. Despite a weak third, where he scored just 3 points, Landry bounced back in the final stretches, finishing the day with an astounding 34 points. He was running all over the Armor in the fourth quarter, doing his best to single-handedly turn a hard-fought battle into a rout. Although he couldn’t quite put away the Armor by himself, Landry tonight showed why he was in the NBA with an epic performance.
Landry, even with his brilliance, couldn’t do it alone, of course. After starting slow, Davis finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Morris Almond added in another sixteen. Even during Landry’s dominance, every starter save one had double-digit points, putting in a solid effort to support the day’s star. With this effort, Landry may have broken in to the starting rotation; we shall see. He played more time than one starter today already. Not only did he lead the team in points, but it seemed as though everyone was better when he was on the floor, just as with Davis’s brilliant game last Wednesday. Good players not only get the stats, they inspire others.
At any rate, it’s very good for the Red Claws to have inspiring performance from a variety of players in the same week. While it would be nice to see some others step up as well, this team looks well-positioned heading into a difficult home stretch.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Marcus Landry
NEXT THREE: Monday, March 22, 8:00PM @ Dakota Wizards….Wednesday, March 24, 8:00PM @ Sioux Falls SkyForce…Friday, March 26, 10:00PM @ Reno Bighorns.