Raptors905 Post-Game

Raptors 905 top NBL’s River Lions to finish preseason 2-0

Raptors 905 108, Niagara 83 | Box Score

We’re going bullet-notes style for this one because it overlapped with Raptors-Thunder. The 905 only got my attention for the first half, and then I watched the second half on commercials/halftime of the big club’s game. I’ll watch the second half proper in the morning, but I didn’t want to wait to get a post up since cuts may be announced by the time we’re all up in the morning.

Game Notes

  • The crowd in St. Catharine’s was great. They nearly sold the place out (3,364 announced attendance, a team record) and they were loud throughout. The broadcast was in preseason mode, with the basket sometimes cut off and a blimp interfering with the view at one point, but it’s pretty clear the River Lions put out a good product.
  • The offense was really shaky early on as the 905 tried to establish Yanick Moreira in the post. For the second game in a row, E.J. Singler opened the scoring with a triple, but this time it took over two minutes. Moreira eventually got going a bit, showing off some better foot work than advertised once again in this one (he finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds). And guys, these post-entry passes, come on.
    • Moreira’s rim protection and defense in the pick-and-roll are so good, too.
  • Jarrod Uthoff (12 points, nine rebounds) ended some NBLers career with a dunk late in the first. The 905 looked like they might lose their lead late in the frame, but they got a key stop on a surrendered offensive rebound and then Greg Morrow nailed a buzzer-beater to steady things. (They led 29-24 after one.)
    • Uthoff looks so smooth on the catch-and-shoot or turning around over smaller defenders. Good preseason for him.
  • Negus Webster-Chan (11 points, nine rebounds, four assists) got a big opportunity, starting at the two. He pressed a bit at the start but settled in nicely. He can really shoot the ball, and I think him getting the nod as the starter – after participating in pre-draft workouts as an extra body this summer and earning the invite through open tryouts – says a lot. The team clearly wanted an extended look here.
  • Will Sheehey is going to fit in so nicely as a secondary playmaker for a second-unit offense that lacked firepower at times a season ago. He, too, had a big dunk in this one.
  • Give the River Lions credit for playing the 905 tough and refusing to go away. There may have been some shenanigans, though – head coach Jerry Stackhouse had to alert the scorer’s table that the 905 didn’t have the correct number of points on the board at one point. Eat your heart out, Montreal Screwjob. (The River Lions then tied things up in earnest, forcing a Stackhouse timeout to talk* things over.)
    • [* – Get Rasheed Wallace to stare a hole through everyone’s soul. Wallace was with the team for the day, as Keith Bogans was over the weekend.]
      • It worked, and they rebounded for a 52-48 lead at half. The Maysides performed at halftime, which is a pretty cool thing for an NBL team to add to their gameops presentation.
  • The 905 started to pull away in the third, thanks in large part to Webster-Chan and Antwaine Wiggins (10 points). They felt more in control than even the 70-60 lead would have suggested, as the defense was really humming (Wiggins is really, really good at that end).
  • C.J. Leslie got cooking for a bit in the fourth, going on a personal 6-0 run for a third of his 18 points to essentially seal the game. The team kept pushing from there, extending the lead to 27 in the closing minutes and then holding on for the 108-83 victory.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Brady Heslip sat with a minor shoulder injury once again. It’s not considered anything serious, and short of getting Heslip more reps at the point, there’s not much cost to keeping him out. He’s in shape from Raptors camp and is the most known commodity on the roster.
  • Zeke Marshall sitting our for a second game in a row is a bigger deal, as the 7-foot open tryout invite has now gotten zero minutes with which to fight for a spot. Goodluck Okonoboh sat, too, but he may have made enough of an impression in the preseason opener to carve out the backup center spot.
  • Coming off of camp with the Nuggets, Axel Toupane was an unannounced scratch here and played just six minutes total over two exhibition games. I’d imagine this is a case of wanting to give the minutes to players trying out (and to keep him out the eyes of scouts, who were already out at the preseason opener on Sunday).
  • Cut-down day is tomorrow. The 905 have to trim the roster from 17 to 12, and the only certainties appear to be Heslip, Singler, Toupane, Uthoff, Moreira, Jordan, Leslie, and Sheehey. That leaves four spots for the nine players in camp through open tryouts (Webster-Chan, Marshall, J. Williams, Morrow) and the draft (Wiggins, Okonoboh, Terrell, K. Williams, O’Day). We’ll have the cut announcement for you when the team releases it.
  • I couldn’t see it, but the broadcast said that Stackhouse signed an autograph for a fan during fourth-quarter free-throws. So make sure you get your courtside seats for games at Hershey Centre, on sale now!

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