Celtics' Season Comes To End In Playoffs
By Maine Celtics Staff /March 29, 2023
maine celtics’ season comes to end in playoffs
PORTLAND, ME – A massive third-quarter run edged the Cleveland Charge over the Maine Celtics, 113-100 in the First Round of the NBA G League Playoffs presented by Google Pixel.
Two-Way guard JD Davison finished with 27 points, six rebounds and six assists. Kamar Baldwin contributed 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists and Scottie Lindsey added 15 points and six rebounds. Denzel Valentine turned in 14 points and eight rebounds. Two-Way big Mfiondu Kabengele was limited to nine points, four rebounds and six blocks due to foul trouble. Reggie Kissoonlal scored eight points.
Cleveland Cavaliers assignee Sam Merrill had 28 points, five rebounds and five assists. Sharife Cooper posted 23 points and 11 assists and Nate Hinton logged 22 points and 16 rebounds. Cavaliers assignee Dylan Windler added 19 points and eight rebounds.
Lindsey sank the first three of the day for Maine, with Windler hitting from deep to start things off for Cleveland. It didn’t take long for Baldwin to take over the first quarter, scoring 10 of the first 16 points for the Celtics. The Celtics got out to an early nine-point lead after Cooper was sent to the bench with two quick fouls and Kissoonlal canned a pair of triples in his first four minutes off the bench. After one, Maine held a 33-24 lead, shooting 64.3 percent from the field, 6-9 from range and limiting Cleveland to seven made field goals in the opening 12 minutes.
Kabengele blocked each of the Charge’s first two shot attempts of the second and skied for an alley-oop that extended the lead beyond 10 points. Two trips later, though, and Kabengele had to sit down with three fouls. Maine held a 40-26 lead after outscoring the Charge 14-8 across the first five minutes of the quarter, building the lead to as much as 15 before Cleveland answered back. Cooper soon picked up his third foul himself, limiting him to 11 minutes and four points in the first half. At the halftime break, the Celtics led 58-44 after shooting 10-21 from deep as a team.
It was a tale of two halves on Wednesday afternoon at the Expo; the Charge opened the third with three-straight makes, all of which were assisted by Cooper. Cleveland built the run to 22-2 before the Celtics could gather themselves, taking their first lead of the night at the seven-minute mark and completely flipping the momentum. Maine took a timeout down seven, 72-65 with 3:43 to go, but the Charge rained three-pointers on the Celtics as they took a commanding 83-69 lead into the final frame. Cleveland shot 61.5 percent, made six threes and outscored the Celtics 37-11 in the third.
Valentine opened the fourth with a step-back three to help get Maine’s mojo back, and Davison flew down the lane for a left-handed finish to get the Celtics within 10 just 43 seconds into the quarter. Cooper’s dribble-drive penetration generated loads of open looks for the Charge, who rode his offense to the end after he was able to establish rhythm and avoid foul trouble in the second half. Davison came up with a steal and nailed a corner three that got the Celtics within six, but they couldn’t quite make the run they needed in the end. Cleveland won the second half 69-42 to earn a first-round playoff victory over the Celtics at the Expo.
The Maine Celtics’ 2022-23 season concludes with the loss to Cleveland. This year’s Celtics were the first to earn a playoff berth since 2017, and only the third team in franchise history to win 30 games across the Showcase and regular season.