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Raptors905 Post-Game

Antwaine Wiggins energy and CJ Leslie lift 905 to second-half surge past Knicks

Matt Azevedo/MattAzevedo.com

Photo by MattAzevedo.com

Raptors 905 (25-9) def. Westchester Knicks (14-20); 105-99 | Box Score
Assignees: Bruno Caboclo (905).

After a listless first half, Antwaine Wiggins started the second half and gave the 905 the jolt Ibaka will be hoping to give the parent club in a 105-99 victory over the Westchester Knicks.

If the last game against the Canton Charge was a lesson in fluid and aesthetically pleasing offence, tonight was one muck and grind. One of the concerns of a white-hot night offensively, is that there’s usually an equal and opposite cold night around the corner. The 905 missed their first seven shots and shot just 38% in the first quarter to quickly suggest that this would be the night. Although Westchester started slowly as well and knocked down just three of their first 11 shots, they hit six of their last seven shots in the quarter to drop 29 in the frame on 50% shooting.

Bruno was blocked twice in the first quarter, once on a lay-in after a smart weakside cut, and then a second time on a three-point attempt with his man all over him. The first one was tough as he was trying to sneak the lay-in off the cut quickly before his man, Courtney Fells, was there, but Fells got it anyway. The second was a force with the shot clock under 10, and Bruno should have shown better awareness to get a better shot off. Von Wafer also had a dunk in his grill a bit later. Bruno moved on to the next play on the other end. Make of it what you will.

John Jordan brought some good energy off the bench for the 905, playing with aggression on both ends. He had a smart up-and-under move about five minutes into the second quarter, although he may have traveled. John Jenkins found his game in the second quarter

The second quarter didn’t go much better for the 905, finishing the half making just 19 of their 50 field goal attempts. The Knicks could only manage 40 attempts from the field, and so their 52.5% field goal percentage could only garner them an eight point lead at the half. Edy Tavares was the main reason they stayed in the game, as the Knicks had no answer for his size and length. He finished the game with a wild five steal, five block night, in addition to his 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Jerry Stackhouse replaced CJ Leslie with Antwaine Wiggins in the second half, and he brought the desired impact Stackhouse was looking for. He made a couple of acrobatic layups on either side of back-to-back threes from Bruno to help the 905 tie game. He then blocked a jumper that led to a Brady Heslip three, giving the 905 a 62-59 lead. The momentum shift changed the game, and Wiggins’ imprint was much larger than the 14 points and five rebounds he accumulated tonight.

Bruno added another pull-up jumper before pulling off his move of the night. Receiving the ball at the three-point line on the left elbow, he quickly dribbled left and took off from just inside the free throw line with his man all over him. He switched from looking like he was going to flip it up with his left hand to banking the ball in with his right. Tough, tough, score. He had 10 in the quarter.

CJ Leslie got his game going after that, scoring eight straight points inside to extend the 905 lead to as many as 10. Leslie ended the night with an impressive 25 points and 13 boards, and looked like he had for much of the early season. All those buckets meant the Mississauga squad finished the quarter with 39 points and a six point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

John Jordan made a bullet pass to Yanick Moreira to start the fourth quarter, extending the lead back up to 10 a minute into the final period. Jordan then brought it on the defensive end, taking what looked like a blatant charge with eight minutes remaining. The referee called the blocking foul though, much to the ire of Stackhouse. Stackhouse let the referee have an earful, and then got the call overturned courtesy of a coach’s challenge.

The 905 started playing a bit more carelessly with the double-digit lead, and the lead was whittled down to two with under a minute to play. In need of a bucket, Heslip dribbled out the clock before hoisting a three from the left elbow that popped out. CJ Leslie saved the game though with his seventh offensive rebound of the night, and slamming home after gathering himself.

Coach Stackhouse and his staff now depart to New Orleans on a winning note, and the players alongside them will be Edy Tavares and Axel Toupane. John Jordan will be looking to electrify New Orleans with his dunks, and if you don’t know what he’s all about, I suggest you look up last year’s dunk contest where he cruised to victory. All in all, this is now a well earned break for the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Notes:

  • With Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright both with the Raptors in Chicago, Brady Heslip was back in the starting point guard role with John Jordan serving as the primary backup.
  • With Jared Sullinger also returning to the senior squad and Will Sheehey and Axel Toupane still injured, CJ Leslie drew the start.
  • Negus Webster-Chan gave Stackhouse more good minutes tonight with eight points to boot, and this is probably the best extended stretch he’s had this season.
  • The Raptors 905 are now off for the All-Star break, and will return to action on Feb. 23 against the Erie Bayhawks. Start time is scheduled for 7:30pm EST.

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