Yet the fanfare that followed the foursome didn’t translate to the floor throughout, with the Red Claws struggling at times in a 111-95 victory at the Portland Expo.

Coty Clarke signed a 10-day contract with the Red Claws’ parent club in Boston on Monday, but found himself right back in Portland on Thursday. He was joined by new Celtics teammates Jordan Mickey (a 2015 second-round draft pick) and James Young (2014 first-round draft pick), as well as another 2015 second-round pick, Marcus Thornton, who was making his Red Claws’ home debut after finishing up a season playing in Australia’s National Basketball League.

Adding to the star power for the home team was fan favorite Tim Frazier, who recently returned to the Red Claws after a stint with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA.

“Everyone knows what we’re doing. Everyone’s familiar with each other. There wasn’t any problem,” Red Claws coach Scott Morrison said. “The biggest problem was getting everybody minutes.”

Frazier, last year’s NBA Development League MVP and Rookie of the Year, kept the Red Claws (26-15) afloat during some uneven play for Maine, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

He had eight points at the half, with the Red Claws clinging to a 50-47 lead, but doubled that with eight alone in third. The Maine lead grew to 76-66 after three quarters, and kept getting bigger and bigger from there.


“Sometimes you take different roles in a game. My role at that time, I was able to knock down some shots,” Frazier said. “Fortunately we were able to push the lead back up with those makes.”

Clarke picked up the scoring from Frazier in the fourth, putting in nine of his team-high 18 points in the final period. He added five rebounds and was an efficient 6 of 7 from the floor.

“I told them I was back like I never left,” Clarke said. “The guys know me, and we enjoy playing together. I definitely wanted to come out here and win. I didn’t want to just come down and stink it up.”

Clarke participated in two practices with the Celtics, and said he was just “taking advantage of the opportunity.” Back in Portland, the versatile forward found himself with three fouls and just two points at halftime. A message from his teammates and coaches to “go do you” was heard, and he rallied back to score 16 points without picking up a foul in the second half.

Thornton had a difficult shooting night in his Expo debut. The rookie professional was just 3 for 11 from the floor, and 2 for 5 from 3-point range, but did manage to piece together 11 points.

The speedy guard called the Expo crowd of 1,712 “the type of atmosphere you want to play in.” His focus in his first game at the intimate arena was to show off other aspects of his game besides his scoring. He did just that with four rebounds and four assists.


“He’s another guy that can get to the rim off the dribble, which is key for us. Can hit the open shot, which is also key for us,” Morrison said of Thornton. “Every game he seems to get a little more comfortable. We’re going to need him to be a big role down the stretch, for sure.”

Young also struggled with his shot. He was 2 for 10 before making a pair of 3s in the fourth. After the first one he shook his head, showing that even he knew the ball wasn’t bouncing in his favor. He scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth a night after finishing on the floor in the Celtics’ home win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mickey was also on the floor for the final buzzer in Boston on Wednesday night. In two minutes of action, he showed off his defensive prowess with three blocks.

“You got to make something out of every opportunity you get,” Mickey said.

The Louisiana State product continued his defensive play for the Red Claws on Thursday, bringing down five defensive rebounds, ans six total, while also chipping in 14 points.

Morrison said defensive rebounds have been a problem for the team, but the Red Claws have picked up the effort in that category during their five-game win streak.


They finished with a 44-34 edge on the defensive glass, and 52-45 overall.

What helped the lowly BayHawks (11-29) out was the effort of Branden Dawson, who is on assignment from the Los Angeles Clippers. Dawson scored a team-high 19 points, while also pulling down nine rebounds, with five coming on the offensive end.

Melvin Ejim also dropped in 19 points for Erie, which has now lost 12 straight to solidify its spot at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. The Red Claws sit at the top of the division heading into their final nine games of the regular season.

Morrison said he likes to split the season into five-game stretches, with the hope of winning at least three games during each stretch. Maine will conceivably have to play the rest of the current stretch without Mickey and Clarke, who were supposed to head back to Boston after Thursday’s game.

“We got two more five-game stretches,” Morrison said.

The Red Claws are right back in action Friday night, hosting the Grand Rapids Drive at the Expo.

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