Maine Celtics Suffer setback to capital city
Six Celtics Finish In Double-Digits
PORTLAND, ME – The Maine Celtics, presented by Unum, made a late charge but came up just short against the Capital City Go-Go, falling 104-93 in the team’s first loss of the 2022-23 season.
JD Davison led Maine (5-1) with 15 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Luka Šamanić tallied 18 points and nine rebounds. Mfiondu Kabengele posted 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Scottie Lindsey notched 14 points and six rebounds off the bench and Denzel Valentine put up 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Devon Dotson finished with 16 points and six assists to lead Capital City (5-2). Vernon Carey Jr., Jonathan Davis, and Jaime Echenique each dropped 15 points, with Carey adding 13 boards for the double-double. Davis had six rebounds and Echenique had seven. Makur Maker registered 13 points, four rebounds and three assists and Jordan Schakel scored 12 points.
Carey completed an and-one opportunity on the first possession of the game and a Marial Shayok-Kabengele pick-and-roll set got the Celtics on the board on their first possession. Kabengele exited the game after picking up two quick fouls, and Capital City responded by pounding the ball inside to get out to an early lead, though Maine would briefly tie it, 10-10 on threes from Šamanić and Marvin Smith Jr. Maine was struggling to score in the opening frame, but active defense kept them within earshot until turnovers compounded the early shooting inefficiencies. The Go-Go got up by nine, but Lindsey and Kamar Baldwin’s consecutive triples brought Maine within three. Picking up where we left off last night, the physicality quickly ramped up late in the first and carried through the rest of the game. Capital City was ahead, 30-23 after one.
The Go-Go scored six straight in the opening three minutes of the second, building a 36-23 lead. The Celtics sleepwalked through parts of the quarter, missing coverage or fouling to give up easy buckets in transition or early in possessions as Capital City stretched out the lead even further. Maine had racked up 14 team fouls by the later portion of the half, but a run powered by Davison and Valentine that was capped off by a skyscraping alley-oop finish by Kabengele brought Maine back within single-digits, trailing 59-50 at the break.
Maine kept the deficit around nine through the first half of the third quarter, though the offense was noticeably more fluid, and the team shot with higher efficiency. A three from Davison brought the Celtics within five and the Capital City lead dwindled to two, 72-70, before the Go-Go called timeout. Šamanić scored five-straight points to help Maine get within one, but Capital City was able to keep the Celtics at bay in the third despite Maine shooting north of 41 percent from distance as a team. After three, Capital City led 82-77.
A 6-0 run for Capital City stretched the lead to double-digits early in the fourth before the Celtics were able to break the ice with Shayok’s 1-for-2 at the line. Maine went four minutes without a field goal dating back to the end of the third, which allowed the Go-Go to stretch the lead back out. To make matters worse for the Celtics, Kabengele picked up his fifth foul and was forced to sit as Maine trailed 88-81 with 7:16 left. Dotson rattled home a pull-up jumper that stretched the lead back to double digits, but the Celtics had one last push to make. Valentine canned a three that ignited the Expo crowd and brought Maine within six in crunch time, but that was as close as they’d get despite a massive block from Davison and a rim-rattling dunk from Šamanić that could’ve shifted the momentum. The Go-Go ultimately handed the Celtics the first loss of the season, 104-93.
The Maine Celtics play host to the Delaware Blue Coats at 3:00 PM EST on Sunday before heading out on a six-game road trip.