Red Claws’ Jabari Bird, shoots over Erie Bayhawks’ Craig Sword, left, during the first half Sunday in Portland, Maine. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)
PORTLAND — Trey Davis didn’t play at all Friday night in the Maine Red Claws’ G League season opener.
When he had a chance to take the court Sunday afternoon at the Portland Expo, he made the most of his minutes.
Davis scored 17 points as Maine pulled away from a scrappy Erie BayHawks squad to win 102-96 before a crowd of 2,193. The Red Claws closed out the game with an 11-2 run after trailing by three with three minutes remaining.
“I just wanted to come be a spark plug,” said Davis, who played at UMass and wound up with the Red Claws in part because his friendship with Celtics guard Marcus Smart got him noticed in preseason workouts. “That’s going to be my role here. Just bring energy defensively and offensively.”
A 6-foot, 180-pound point guard, Davis scored 10 points in the second quarter on drives and his 3-point push shot. He added seven more in the third quarter as the Claws dug out of a 67-58 deficit to enter the fourth with a 75-71 lead.
“They didn’t know what to expect when he came in,” teammate Jabari Bird said of Davis. “But we all know Trey can ball. He’s been with us the past two months, hooping with us, even down in Boston with the Celtics. We all know what he’s capable of.”
Bird finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. His double-pumping drive with 2:57 remaining cut Erie’s lead to 94-93 and sparked Maine’s strong finish, with Kadeem Allen and Daniel Dixon sandwiching close-range baskets around a pair of free throws to put the Claws ahead 99-94.
Dixon came off the bench to contribute 20 points and nine rebounds. Allen had 10 points and seven rebounds. The Claws connected on only 5 of 24 3-point attempts, but they outrebounded the BayHawks 53-35.
“I felt like in the first half we just didn’t play hard enough,” Maine Coach Brandon Bailey said. “We allowed too many point-blank layups at the rim. That just is unacceptable. That is not our standard at all.”
Erie (0-2) opens its home season Friday night in Pennsylvania against the Red Claws (2-0). The BayHawks lost their season opener on a buzzer-beater in Grand Rapids, spoiling the G League head coaching debut of Portland native Josh Longstaff.
Josh Magette, the league leader in assists the past two seasons, led Erie with 20 points and 16 assists — two more than Maine’s entire team. Forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds against Grand Rapids, was called up to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday while on the way to a team practice at the Expo.
“They have other good players behind him,” Bailey said of Cavanaugh’s absence, “but it was a factor, for sure.”
Red Claws’ Trey Davis, left, guards Erie Bayhawks’ Daesung Lee, right, during the second period Sunday in Portland, Maine. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)Red Claws’ Andrew White, left, goes up for a shot while being guarded by Erie Bayhawks’ Jeremy Hollowell, right, during the second period Sunday in Portland. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)Red Claws’ Kadeem Allen, right, is blocked by Erie Bayhawks’ Derrick Marks, left, as he goes up for a shot in the first period Sunday in Portland. (Joel Page/Portland Press Heraldr)Former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, left, performs Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 during halftime at the Maine Red Claws game in Portland. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)Erie Bayhawks’ head coach Josh Longstaff, right, speaks with Derrick Marks, left, during the second of their game against the Red Claws on Sunday in Portland, Maine. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)