Final Score: Maine Red Claws 115, Erie BayHawks 92
In a game that showcased an entire team effort, the Maine Red Claws snapped their four-game losing streak with a win at home against Erie. Behind the Boston Celtics 2013 draft pick Damen Bell-Holter, the Maine Red Claws advance to 10-12 on the season leaving them just four games back from a playoff berth.
The game featured six of the Red Claws players in double figures and holing the BayHawks to just 92 points 42.5 percent shooting.
I got a chance to talk to Bell-Holter after the game and the rookie knows he’s got a lot of work to do, but admitted that this was his best effort thus far. Bell-Holter shot 71.4 percent from the floor, scoring a career-high 24 points.
Coach Mike Taylor said of Bell-Holter that he’s had an easy time with the physical part of the game, but was having difficulty with the mental aspect. In case you don’t know, Bell-Holter was swapped from being a center in college to playing the power forward in Maine, which has been a tough transition for him. Coach Taylor also added that Bell-Holter thinks too much and he just wanted to teach him how to relax.
I wanted to see if the rookie power forward agrees with his coach’s assessment and he echoed his exact words stating that the biggest thing that he’s picked up so far was learning to relax while slowing the game down.
I also asked what Bell-Holter felt he has improved on the most and he said “being able to put the ball on the ground.” Being able to dribble through traffic is necessary for an NBA power forward and it looks like Bell-Holter has that awareness.
Bell-Holter was previously averaging just 7.1 points per game, but with his new understanding of what the team needs from him, he will look to take it upon himself to become more of an offensive threat. He was given the ball in the post and double multiple times and didn’t have an issue passing through the double-team.
Noticeable flaws in Bell-Holter’s game were his inability to stop a good scoring forward on the other side in Justin Brownlee, who got 26 points of his own. Also, Bell-Holter had a few instances when he was the last man up the floor. Also, Bell-Holter ended the night with just five rebounds as one of the tallest players on the floor. Those numbers will have to improve before you see him in green.
Bell-Holter’s development can’t be denied as he’ll look to build on this last game offensively and improve defensively. In watching him closely, he definitely has a skill set that would be beneficial in the NBA if he can just harness his raw abilities.
The Maine Red Claws are back in action on Monday when they take on the Canton Charge at 3:00PM.