The Maine Red Claws and Canton Charge went head-to-head for the second time in as many days and while the end result was the same, the game was close. It took 19 ties, 18 lead changes, and a career night from rookie guard Quinn Cook to put Maine away. The win was good for their 11th on the year to get them back to .500, subsequently also keeping their winning streak alive.
Cook looked absolutely amazing against some of the toughest competition in the D-League. He dropped a season-high 32 points to go with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals against three of the most impressive players in the entire Development League. What was the most impressive part of his game was his jump shot; of his 12 made shots only two came at the rim. He was not just casting up jumpers, but creating his own shot — something that will be essential once he takes the next step. His quick decision making, excellent handles, and wonderful jumper make him look like he is more than ready to be in the rotation at the next level. The Cavaliers' backcourt has a reputation for being a fragile one, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them be curious about giving Cook an extended look. Performances like this only make him look that much more tempting to David Blatt and Co.
In this game there were not too many positives for the Red Claws, most especially the players on assignment from the Boston Celtics. Of all the Celtics assignees, RJ Hunter's performance from the floor was by far the most disappointing. In 39 minutes of action the rookie scored nine points on just four-of-seventeen shooting and really struggled to find his groove. His shot selection looked questionable because of how contested they were but he also missed some wide open shots too. He took a lot of jumpers as opposed to working around screens and in the pick and roll. One thing that can be taken away from a performance like this is that he found other ways to impact the game. He finished with five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block.
Terry Rozier struggled from the floor as well, only shooting five-of-sixteen for 17 points. He shot an abysmal one-of-eight from distance and looked like he was chucking shots up left and right when he stepped behind the arc. It is clear that Rozier is a great shooter, when looking at his body of work, but he needs to get better at adapting and knowing when something isn't working. Part of being a successful NBA player is being able to change your plan of attack during the game. He should have worked on driving the lane more, where he was three-of-five and earned several trips to the free throw line. One positive that can be taken away from his performance was that he did not turn the ball over once in 29 minutes of action, which is a huge accomplishment for the turnover prone rookie.
For some reason Jordan Mickey only played seven minutes of the game and in those seven minutes he was able to amass four points and two rebounds. His replacement was former University of Minnesota standout and son of Ralph Sampson, Ralph Sampson III. Although he has been plagued with knee injuries he looked good in this game, playing 18 minutes and finishing with nine points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks. Malcolm Miller had a decent showing for the Red Claws with 16 points, six rebounds, and six blocks shots. In addition to getting a career night from Cook, the Charge were paced by Nick Minnerath's 14 points and 11 rebounds.