Herd lose 125-103, playoff hopes diminish

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

Herd Basketball
Jacob Link / Advance-Titan
Delaurier slams it home in the first quarter of Sunday’s 125-103 loss.

The Wisconsin Herd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, fell to the Maine Celtics 125-103 on Sunday at the Oshkosh Arena.
Herd head coach Chaisson Allen said it was just a game that didn’t go their way.
“I think it kinda got to us that we weren’t getting the stops we needed,” Allen said. “[We] kinda got distracted throughout the game. I think we just gotta stay focused throughout 48 minutes.”
Javin Delaurier had his third double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Rayjon Tucker led the Herd with 22 points and Frank Mason III, the 2019-20 G League MVP, scored 15 points off the bench.
Maine’s Chris Clemons, a problem for the Herd all game, dropped 41 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Clemons went 14-26 from the floor and connected on eight 3-pointers in the contest. Isaiah Cousins scored 21 points and Brodric Thomas added 18 points for the Celtics.
Allen said Clemons was the reason the Celtics shot over 50% from the floor in the game.

“He’s a heck of a player,” he said. “You have to put a whole game plan on him just to try to stop him.”

“He’s done that multiple times this year, 40-point games,” Allen said. “He’s a great player, and then you add Matt Ryan, their new two-way [player], to the table and those guys are a hard team to stop.”
The Herd, who have lost three straight, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference and are 6.5 games behind the Grand Rapids Gold for the final playoff spot. Wisconsin only has eight games to play in the regular season.
Delaurier said it’s been a tough season for the Herd with all of the team’s rotating pieces.
“We just don’t have that continuity yet, so just trying to figure out how every guy plays, it’s something that we are dealing with everyday,” he said. “Obviously it’s no excuse, but it is something we’re trying to build on.”
The Herd jumped out to an early 7-3 lead with under 11 minutes to play in the first quarter, but the Celtics pulled ahead after a Cousins 3-pointer and never looked back. Wisconsin drew to within six at one point, but the Celtics extended their lead to 34-22 at the end of the first quarter.
Wisconsin’s 15-5 scoring run to open the second quarter cut the Maine lead to 38-37 with eight minutes to go in the half. The Celtics went on a 16-7 scoring run of their own behind two 3-pointers from Clemons to build a 54-47 lead with under five minutes in the second quarter. Clemons scored 28 points in the first half, as Maine increased their lead to 68-57 at the end of the half.
Allen said the team started off in attack mode and were moving the ball well.
“As we started getting frustrated, the ball stopped moving and you could tell the guys were going out there just trying to make [the deficit] up on their own,” he said. “We have good players, but I keep emphasizing that this is a team game. In order for us to win, we have to come together.”
The Herd limited Clemons to just seven points in the third quarter, but that did not stop the Celtics from shooting 54.5% as a team and building an 80-65 lead with under six minutes remaining in the quarter.
Wisconsin ended the quarter on a 14-7 scoring run to cut the lead to 87-79. The Herd outscored the Celtics 22-19 in the third quarter.
Mason III started off the quarter with a 3-pointer to pull Wisconsin to within five, but the Celtics scored 13 unanswered points to take a 100-82 lead. Maine outscored the Herd 38-24 in the final quarter and went on to win 125-103.
Delaurier said that the Celtics have been a very good team this season.
“They have been very consistent and do a good job of sharing the ball,” Delaurier said. “When you’ve got a guy that’s shooting the ball as well as Clemons, they can be a tough opponent.”
In their previous game, the Herd fell to the Cleveland Charge 129-119. The Herd led for the first half, but the Charge climbed back to take a nine-point lead in the third quarter. Wisconsin cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter, but Cleveland held on to get the win.
Mason III led the team with 24 points, while Delaurier had another double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 boards.
Delaurier said he works so well in the paint because of the time he spent on his farm.
“A lot of times you just gotta do stuff that nobody wants to do, and that’s how I relate to doing post work,” he said. “You’re in the lane, and it’s ugly. Nobody wants to do it, but that’s kinda my bread and butter. It’s what I pride myself on.”
The Herd will take on the College Park Skyhawks today at the Gateway Center in Georgia. Check the Herd’s website for more information regarding today’s game.
Wisconsin will be back home on March 23 to take on Raptors 905 at 6 p.m. at the Oshkosh Arena. The Raptors have Alex Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Alex Antetokounmpo was recently featured in the NBA All-Star skills competition alongside his older brothers Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

“We just gotta keep competing, keep getting better day by day,” Allen said.“Eventually the wins will come. It’s probably only been two weeks this team has been together. It’s just helping them get through that and the wins will come.”