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NBA G League Finals Preview - Maine vs. Oklahoma City

By Maine Celtics Staff /April 8, 2024

Game details:                            

Matchup:Maine Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Blue 

Location: Portland Expo; Portland, Maine 

Tipoff:8:00 PM EST     

Television: ESPNU 

The people of Greater Portland have been waiting since 2009 for this moment. 

Sitting at 11-11 in late-February, the Maine Celtics won 10 of their last 12 regular-season games to earn a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After a first-round bye, the Celtics beat the reigning-champion Delaware Blue Coats to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for only the second time in franchise history. Holding a 61-60 lead in the third quarter against the Long Island Nets, Maine closed the game on a 38-17 run to claim the Eastern Conference crown and send the franchise to its first-ever G League Finals. 

Now, only the Oklahoma City Blue stand between Maine and the championship trophy. Despite being in the Western Conference, the Blue are a familiar opponent; back in December, the Celtics swept a two-game set in OKC to open the regular season. Much has changed for both squads since then, but they do know each other fairly well coming into the best-of-three G League Finals. 

Being the higher seed, Maine has homecourt advantage in the Finals – the Celtics host Game 1 and Game 3 (if necessary), while Oklahoma City hosts Game 2. 

Breaking down the Blue: 

Oklahoma City finished the regular season as the only team to rank in the top-eight in offense and defense besides the #1 seed Stockton Kings, their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. The Blue ranked second in rebounding – four spots above Maine – and fourth in pace. With middling volume and efficiency from beyond the arc, Oklahoma City relies on a healthy balance of shots from all three levels to bolster its offense. 

The Blue roster a talented trio of Two-Way players in Adam Flagler, Keyontae Johnson, and Olivier Sarr, who are all expected to be with the team in Portland for Game 1. The bulk of the scoring comes from Jahmi’us Ramsey, a 2020 second-round pick that averages 22.3 points on 55.5% shooting while being the second-leading rebounder at 8.3 boards per game. Ramsey had 29 points in 31 minutes off the bench in the WCF win over Stockton, including 11 in the fourth quarter to help seal the deal.  

On the other hand, Sarr has recorded a double-double in all three playoff games for the third-seeded Blue, notching 22 boards in the first-round win over Rio Grande Valley. This OKC roster consists of some high-level talent. 

No player on the Blue may fit that description better than Ousmane Dieng, a second-year forward on assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Like Jordan Walsh for Maine, the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft has spent much of his season in the G League, appearing in 33 games across the regular season and Showcase. Dieng averages 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6 assists with the Blue; at 6-foot-9, he offers plenty of lineup versatility with his scoring and playmaking abilities. 

The finish line is in sight. In a best-of-three series, the winner of Game 1 puts themselves in a highly favorable position. The Celtics have been rolling as of late. Let’s see if they can keep it rolling long enough to claim Maine’s first-ever G League title.