Raptors905 Post-Game

Tavares Inside, and CJ Leslie Everywhere Halt Red Claws

Photo Credit: Matt Azevedo/MattAzevedo.com

Raptors 905 (6-2) def. Maine Red Claws (7-3); 102-89| Box Score

Assignees: None (905). Demetrius Jackson (Red Claws)

The Raptors 905 were looking to exact a measure of revenge against the Maine Red Claws, and were able to ride another strong first-half showing to do so over the Boston Celtics’ D-League affiliate.

Tavares got them started on offence with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. Unlike on Friday night where he was the recipient of several dump-offs that only required a dunk or a lay-in, the 7’3’’ center showed off a soft touch from 12 feet and in to toss in some bankers and hook shots in this one.

One difference between the Charge and Red Claws guards though, was the fearlessness with which they attacked the rim. Tavares intimidated the Charge guards on Friday night, and they were soft with their takes in the paint as a result. The Red Claws guards went right at him, and he was forced to leave the game with two fouls in the first six minutes. The fouls are the only downside of two impressive performances, as he’s now picked up 11 fouls over 47 minutes played.

The Facebook Live feed cut out with about six minutes to go in the first quarter, and the 905 jumped from a 16-14 lead to a 53-36 with 2:31 to go in the half by the time the feed returned.

Safe to say, the story in between was CJ Leslie, and the overall team defense. Leslie put up 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in the half, and he’s one of those guys that quietly does everything within the flow of what the team is trying to accomplish, but you look at the box score and you see his imprint all over the game. He missed the previous matchup between these two teams, and his presence helped the 905 pull away in this one.

The team defense and rebounding was excellent, as the philosophy of not allowing the Red Claws role players to get going paid dividends. The 905 had no answer for Damion Lee and Demetrius Jackson, who combined for 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting in the half, but the remainder of the Red Claws only shot 6-for-21 in the first-half. The 905 were excellent in cleaning up all these misses as well, outrebounding the Red Claws 30-18 over the first 24 minutes.

Damion Lee finished the game with 25 points, and was a threat from the outside all game long, hitting five of his six three-point attempts.

The second half started with the 905 running some high pick-and-roll action between Heslip and Tavares, mixed in with some high-post action for CJ Leslie. The lead ballooned to 70-45 with Heslip able to get going, before the 905 would eventually take an 85-65 lead into the fourth quarter. It was nice to see Heslip regain his shooting touch after an off-night Friday, and he would eventually finish with 15 points and three triples.

The combination of John Jordan-Antwaine Wiggins, Axel Toupane, Jarrod Uthoff, and Yanick Moreira started the fourth quarter, but it was a little strange to see them receive a fairly quick hook in favour of the starters with eight minutes still to go in the game, and a 20-point lead still in hand. Uthoff was easily the most impressive of the five as his 12 points included a couple of tough, contested fadeaways, and even drew some overzealous Dirk comparisons from the colour commentators.

Stackhouse will be thrilled with the response he’s received from his team after a blowout loss at home to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The team has shown real toughness and determination since, and with results more often secondary in the D-League, the spirit and compete level this team has shown over this three-game win streak is what he’ll be most proud of.

Notes:

  • The Red Claws came into this contest with three players averaging at least 20.0 points-per-game; Abdel Nader, Jalen Jones, and Demetrius Jackson. No surprise that they were fourth in the D-League in offensive rating heading into this one, and all the more impressive that the 905 were able to keep them below 100 points for the first time this season.
  • I’m all in on the shot clock resetting to 14 instead of 24 off an offensive rebound, and can’t wait for it to transfer over to the NBA.
  • The 905 shot just 2-of-18 from three when the two teams met at the Hershey Centre, and Brady Heslip led the way in rectifying that on this Sunday evening as they hit half of their 12 attempts.
  • After sitting out the victory over the Charge on Friday, E.J. Singler drew the start today ahead of Antwaine Wiggins and finished with five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
  • Raptors 905 will now travel to North Carolina to face the Greensboro Swarm next on December 7th at 7:00pm EST.

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