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Raptors 905 Lose Heartbreaker at the Buzzer; Positive Things Were Seen

8 mins read

Video clips on Twitter : Box Score

Caught me some D-League Raptors 905 action tonight and was entertained to say the least, even though the squad lost 83-80 at the buzzer.

Fast forward to the end of the game, and with the game tied, Bruno and Bebe had a nice couple plays which should make you happy.  Apologies in advance because for some reason, they never show the score in the D-League broadcast.

Bruno anticipating the miss and laying it in:

Good passing from Bebe as always:

And Bebe getting another big block:

Unfortunately, Bebe lost the ball soon after and gave the Mad Ants a chance to win the game, which they did:

Add whoever that guy is to the list of Raptor-killers.

Don’t matter, though. Some player talk:

Bruno Caboclo:

Has the green-light to shoot every time, and so be it. It’s the D-League and no shot is a bad shot. Having said that, he started the game shooting some (and missing) some 3s very early in the clock and the coach probably told him to tone it down a bit. He came back after a short benching to drive every time, dished a couple dimes and all seemed balanced.

In the second half, he had another stretch where he had the green-light to shoot the rock and he nailed a couple threes. They’re all out of context of an offense (if there even is one), but it’s nice to see him knock down shots. Defensively, he’s better than last year because he tries to move his feet instead of reaching every time. His passing game is now elevated to a 1/5 from an 0/5, only because he can spot a pass to the wing when he’s got a defender hanging on him in the paint.

He’s far more active this year than last and look no further than his 13 rebounds on the night to know that he’s not a bystander anymore.  Though hardly fully coordinated, and often out of control, he’s at least moving on the court and trying to impact the game rather than just pulling back and jacking shots. Positive stuff, that “two years away from being to years away” call was bang on.

Lucas Nogueira:

It’s too bad the team doesn’t run any plays for his big man so Noguiera has to feed off misses and any errant passes that end up his way. He’s easily going to be the lengthiest player on the court on most nights so that lone allows him to influence plays in a league where he has a clear physical advantage. At the same time, 6’9″ Rakeem Christmas had his number in the second half because he’s way more agile than Bebe. The Brazilian cuts a lanky figure that’s out there to affect the game using his size and reach more than his skill. If you’re a Raptors fan, you want to see the latter come out in the D-League and he’s not getting a great chance at that.

Again, he’s still hustling on defense and all that, I just like to see if he’s got something to offer on the other end, and Jessy Mermuys needs to see to it that he gets a chance and isn’t a bystander on 80% of offensive possessions.  We saw on that clip above on how he can pass the ball in the paint, and that should be a staple of the Raptors 905 option, because he’s an intelligent enough player and a willing passer to make things happen.

Style of Play:

This is a very guard-dominated league and if you’re a big man, I feel sorry for you. The guards simply don’t pass much and one-on-one play and quick shots are almost encouraged (or at least it seems). This means that if you’re a big, you either have to have it going offensively right from the beginning and remind the guards you exist, or you have basically bark for the ball. Bebe does neither, and maybe he should since this team is as much about him as it is Bruno.

Other Guards:

Scott Suggs is the standout guard of the night. Good handles, decent shot and above-average D-League quickness gets you a lot of looks and he made his share. From a Raptors perspective, the chance of a call-up is remote since Norman Powell seems to have a hold on that third string SG point position. Encouraging signs for Suggs, who thinks of himself as a scorer, went to Washington (same as Terrence Ross), and is full of confidence. He’s got enough game that it’s not inconceivable that he may get a 10-day at some point with some team.

Nick Wiggins got a run as well and looked very slashy but doesn’t have a jumper. I know what you’re thinking, he’s to us what Durant’s HS coach is to the Wizards. Maybe, maybe, but whatever the case he’s a long way from seeing an NBA roster.

Announcer:

My God, what a show? The Mad Ants announcer is like a combination of Tommy Heinsohn, the local drunk, and a lovable Grandpa. The play-by-play guy and him collectively forgot who Andrew Wiggins was, check the video:

He’s also got this thing where a dunk is called a downball, which is totally what I’ll be doing going forward:

Then there’s screwing up the team name:

There’s so much more gold in these broadcasts and I might just check out some more Mad Ants games for the kick of it.

Overall thoughts:

Raptors 905 look to have a squad that can compete because they have decent guards in Shanon Scott and Scott Suggs. Caboclo and Noguiera bring length which is definitely a considerable factor in D-League than it is in the NBA where strength can easily neutralize length. Their bigs can rebound and though we didn’t get to see Sim Bhullar, but Keanau Post, Walter Pitchford, Bebe and even Bruno hit the glass hard which will keep them in games. They were +9 tonight.

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