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Red Claws snip Drive’s chance at ending losing streak

The Grand Rapids Drive were hoping to put an end to their two-game losing streak but the Maine Red Claws had other ideas and held off a late surge for the 99-96 win on Thursday night.

Jabari Bird and LJ Peak each scored 23 points for Maine and Trey Davis added 21 points off the bench as Maine won their fifth game of the season.

Grand Rapids falls to 4-3 on the year. They were led by Derek Willis‘ 18 points and got 16 points from Luis Montero. Willis also pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Red Claws took a 26-22 lead over Grand Rapids after the first quarter. The Drive started the second quarter on an 8-0 run to take the lead but Maine was able to weather the storm. Maine led 49-47 at the half.

Maine took their biggest lead of the night, 67-57 midway through the third quarter but the Drive quickly erased it with 15 straight points. GR trailed 76-75 heading in to the fourth.

Speedy Smith tossed a lob to Chris Anderson and Grand Rapids took the lead to start the final frame. The teams traded the lead throughout the final 12 minutes. Montero hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 92-92 with just under two minutes left. But Bird hit a three of his own and finished a reverse alley-oop dunk for Maine, giving them a 97-92 lead. The Drive scored four straight but Peak made free throws and got a key steal in the final seconds to secure the win.

Grand Rapids comes home on Saturday night to host the Canton Charge at the DeltaPlex. Game time is 7 p.m.

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