PORTLAND, ME – After trailing by as much as 15 points in the second half, the Maine Celtics stormed back to take the lead in the final minutes but came up short in overtime, losing 115-108 to the Long Island Nets.
Two-Way big Mfiondu Kabengele led Maine (15-11) with 28 points and 21 rebounds, shooting 4-5 from deep. Two-Way guard JD Davison posted his second-career triple-double with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, shooting 10-15 from the floor. Scottie Lindsey dropped 26 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kamar Baldwin finished with 10 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Tony Snell contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
Chris Chiozza led Long Island (22-3) with 25 points, 12 assists and five steals. Raiquan Gray put up 24 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Bowden had 19 points and Alondes Williams logged 18 points and nine rebounds. Kameron Hankerson totaled 10 points off the bench.
Kavion Pippen’s face cut down the lane for an easy lay-in opened the night, and Chiozza and Williams each nailed a three for the Nets before Baldwin broke the ice with a pull-up jumper from the free throw line almost two and-a-half minutes in. The Celtics were down 14-10 at the first timeout, but a handful of turnovers gave Long Island easy scoring chances, leading to a 9-2 run that put Maine in a double-digit hole. The Nets’ run built to 19-4 to close the first, but Davison’s buzzer-beater from just inside halfcourt gave Maine some momentum heading into the second, down 35-20.
The Nets went ahead by as much as 18 in the second, leading 41-23 before the Celtics ripped off a 10-4 run with a thunderous dunk from Davison as the exclamation point. Down a dozen, the Celtics fired back with another run, this time 9-2 to get within seven late in the quarter, 49-42. Long Island stretched out the lead a bit before the end of the second, taking a 66-52 lead into the locker room; Maine’s 16 turnovers that resulted in 16 fastbreak points for the Nets were the difference in an otherwise evenly matched first half.
Davison got himself up to 15 points with a layup that got Maine back within 11 in the opening minutes of the third. Maine was able to chip away at the deficit after the halftime break, shortening the gap to less than 10 a couple times, but Long Island responded in kind to every Celtics run. The third quarter saw a noticeable uptick in intensity and physicality after Luka Šamanić was ejected and Gray received a technical. The Celtics fought hard to stay in it, hustling for rebounds and stringing together stops more consistently. Marvin Smith Jr. tapped in a missed three just before the buzzer to cut the Nets lead to 12, 92-80 after three.
After a few more technical fouls were assessed and the officials went to the monitor for a review, the Celtics came alive; there was plenty of competitive energy from both sides as the stakes picked up and Maine looked to end Long Island’s win streak. With Maine down 11 with 8:30 to go, Kabengele hit a three to claw them back within single digits, 97-89. Baldwin finished a tough layup amid a 19-7 run that brought the Celtics right back in it before Lindsey took over.
Lindsey banged home a couple of massive threes after a Nets timeout, with Davison recording his second-career triple-double on the first and the second tying the game at 97. Long Island took the lead again, 102-99 inside the four-minute mark, but a Davison layup and another huge triple from Lindsey gave the Celtics their first lead of the night, 104-102 with 3:03 remaining. Gray hit a clutch three of his own to tie the game at 108 with 34.2 left before Maine dribbled out the clock for the last shot. Baldwin drove deep into the paint, but his game-winning floater attempt hit front rim, and we went into overtime at the Expo.
New to the G League this season is the “target score” overtime rule – the first team to score seven points in overtime gets the win. With a target score of 115, the Nets quickly put up four points to go ahead 112-108. Before Maine could get a bucket in extra time, Bowden sank the game-winning three over a tight contest to take a 115-108 overtime victory, extending their win-streak to 16 games.
The Celtics and Nets will complete a two-game set in a Sunday matinee on March 12. Then, Maine heads back out on the road, this time for a four-game swing in the Midwest against the Wisconsin Herd and Windy City Bulls.