PORTLAND, Maine — The Grand Rapids Drive (19-17) came away with their seventh victory in their last eight games on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Maine Red Claws (22-13) on the road by a 97-79 final.
The Pistons had recalled Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije from the Drive the previous day, and the Drive’s two leading scorers, Jordan Crawford and Kevin Murphy, also did not play. Nonetheless, Grand Rapids put together very strong showing against one of the league’s top teams. They led the entire game, pulling ahead by 12 by the end of the first quarter and not looking back.
Marcus Simmons scored 19 points to lead the Drive, Trey Freeman had 18 points and eight assists, and Chris Horton had 15 points and nine rebounds while Ramon Harris also provided 15 points.
The Drive had one of their best defensive performances of the season, holding the Red Claws to 79 points when every previous opponent this season had scored at least 87, and they had not held a team to under 100 points since Dec. 30. They surrendered just 37 points after halftime.
Abdel Nader was a bright spot for Maine with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Ryan Kelly also scored 19 points, pulling down eight rebounds as well.
Grand Rapids was able to attempt 97 field goals while the Red Claws hoisted just 72, and Maine could not overcome this discrepancy at the free-throw line either as they had just 14 attempts from the charity stripe. The Drive only turned the ball over five times and five players had at least two steals.
Maine piled up 11 blocked shots while the Drive failed to record any, but the Drive out-rebounded the Red Claws 51-41 and more than doubled the Red Claws’ number of field goal attempts in the paint.