PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Red Claws got a triple-double from Jalen Jones, but it wasn’t enough to beat the hot-shooting Reno Bighorns Sunday. Reno spoiled the Red Claws’ regular season home finale, 128-115, leaving Maine still searching for that playoff spot. Maine’s magic number to clinch the Atlantic Division for a third straight year remains one with three games to play.
Jones led Maine with 25 points (9-18 FG), 12 rebounds and 10 assists, for the 12th triple-double in Red Claws franchise history. Abdel Nader added 29 points and 8 boards. Jordan Mickey, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, scored 22 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots, all while battling foul trouble. Demetrius Jackson, also on assignment from the Celtics, added 7 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss, and Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 15 points for the Claws.
Nader got the party started early with a strong drive to the bucket for two. The Red Claws (28-19) and Bighorns would trade buckets early and often. Off of a steal, Georges-Hunt’s lay-in tied the game at 13, and then Jones set up Jackson for the alley-oop slam to give the Claws the lead. Reno turned it on late in the 1st quarter – with Isaiah Cousins leading the way, Reno (19-28) took at 30-20 lead. Josh Hagins stopped the run with a floater late in the period, but the Bighorns took a 34-22 lead after one.
In the 2nd, Maine tried to get back in the game after a shooting lull. Nader drained a three, but the Claws still trailed by 12. Coron Williams followed that up with a corner triple of his own. The Red Claws made 5 of their first 7 shots in the quarter. Reno kept the pressure on from long distance, with Cousins leading the charge. The Bighorns made 6 of their first 11 three’s to maintain a 55-42 lead halfway through the 2nd. Mickey dropped in a trey to cut the deficit to 9 points, and then Nader’s coast-to-coast drive made it a 58-51 game. Maine out-scored Reno 36-33 in the 2nd quarter. When the dust settled on the first half, Reno held a 67-58 lead, with Nader and Jones each scoring 12 points.
Maine started the 3rd quarter continuing to shoot the ball well. Georges-Hunt dropped in a three-ball to make it a 72-65 game, and Nader’s triple cut it to four. In a broken play, David Stockton drained a three to make it 85-77 Reno. Stockton made five three-pointers in the 3rd quarter alone, and at the end of the 3rd, Reno surged back out to a 92-80 lead.
Cameron Ayers opened the 4th quarter with a three-pointer. Ayers followed that up with another quick three. Mickey’s up and under play cut it to 102-96 with 8:13 to play. Both teams traded baskets, and seemingly Reno had an answer for every Red Claws bucket. The Red Claws cut it to 110-104 with 5:15 to go, but could not get any closer. Kendall Marshall drained several free throws down the stretch to put it away.
The Red Claws shot 48% (44-91) from the field, and 39% (16-41) from three-point range, but only 11-18 from the free throw line. Reno shot 49% (42-86), and 48% (16-33) from downtown, and an impressive 93% (28-30) from the charity stripe.