PORTLAND — The Maine Red Claws opened their 10th G League basketball season with a clang.

Ten missed 3-pointers in 11 attempts in the second half spelled defeat for the home team as the Westchester Knicks beat Maine 95-92 Friday night before a crowd of 1,726 at the Portland Expo.

The Claws nearly erased a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes, and made it a one-point game with 30 seconds remaining before Westchester’s John Jenkins hit a fadeway jumper over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-10 Celtics rookie Robert Williams with 13.7 seconds remaining.

Needing a 3 to tie, the Claws worked the ball to veteran guard Marcus Georges-Hunt, but his contested shot caught iron and the Knicks rebounded as the buzzer sounded.

“It looked spot-on when I shot it,” said Georges-Hunt, who headed back to the court after the Expo cleared out to practice more long-range shooting.

Maine’s starting five of Williams, Georges-Hunt, Walt Lemon Jr., P.J. Dozier and Jeff Robertson went a combined 1 for 14 from deep. Justin Bibbs came off the bench to hit 2 of 5, the only player with more than one 3-pointer for the Claws.


As a team, the Claws were 4 of 26 from beyond the arc to Westchester’s 7 of 21.

“If we make two or three of them, obviously, we win the game,” said second-year coach Brandon Bailey. “There’s a few switching things we have to clean up there defensively, but overall we felt pretty good about it. We just have to make some shots, and we will.”

Lemon led all scorers with 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter to spark Maine’s comeback. He followed a pretty scoop shot with a three-point play and made a late steal by sneaking up on former Red Claw Kadeem Allen to help Maine have a chance at the end.

Lemon and P.J. Dozier are Maine’s two-way players who can spend up to 45 days with the Celtics. Dozier finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, the biggest leading to a Georges-Hunt fast break and one to make it 92-90 with just over two minutes remaining.

“We just have to get used to playing with each other and build chemistry,” Lemon said. “There’s going to be nights when the ball just don’t fall. Guys were open. When we take those same shots in the future, we’re going to knock ’em down and it’s going to be a different story.”

Williams, under the watchful eye of Celtics GM Danny Ainge, pulled down 10 rebounds, blocked three shots and scored 11 points in 25 minutes.

He has appeared in three games for Boston this season.

On the shot by Jenkins (a 2012 first-round pick of Atlanta who has NBA experience with three teams), Williams said he made the proper defensive call, but that “I wasn’t in the position I should have been in. That’s definitely something I’ve got to improve on.”

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