Photo Credit: Matt Azevedo/MattAzevedo.com
Raptors 905 (12-5) def. Maine Red Claws (11-7); 102-89| Box Score
Assignees: None (905). Demetrius Jackson (Red Claws) Jordan Mickey (Red Claws).
The Maine Red Claws seem to enjoy playing at the Hershey Centre, claiming their second win in the building to send the Raptors 905 into 2017 on a losing note. It was the 905’s worst shooting performance of the season, as they shot 26-for-87 from the field (29.9%), and hit just two of their 22 three-point attempts.
The 905 made a concerted effort to attack the Red Claws inside early on, with Edy Tavares attempting six shot in the first six minutes. The Red Claws didn’t have an answer for him in their previous game where he finished with 20 points and 10 boards, and it was a similar theme tonight. He finished the first half with 12 points and six rebounds with everything from easy lay-ins to hook shots going for him, and even tossed in a 15-footer.
The refs were letting them play, as there were plays on both ends with plenty of contact, but no calls. With both teams struggling from the outside, and contact allowed on the inside, it wasn’t a surprise that the game was an early slugfest with just an 8-7 score line midway through the first.
That’s when Axel Toupane sparked some life into the team with a flurry of activity on both ends of the court. Over the remainder of the quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, he drove to the rim and got fouled for two free-throws, assisted Brady Heslip on a three, showed a terrific burst of speed to get to the rim yet again and convert for two, and assisted E.J. Singler for a nice floating banker before saving the best for Yanick Moreira. First, when facing a soft double on the left elbow, he evaded two steal attempts with some crafty ball-handling, before finding Yanick Moreira on the roll for a jam. Then, in early second quarter action, he used a ball fake eliminate one defender on a drive before drawing Moreira’s man at the rim and dishing to him for the easy finish.
It all added up to the 905 converting a 7-13 deficit to a 30-25 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Antwaine Wiggins made his impact felt as well, hustling on both ends on his way to six early points. This game had an odd feel to it, with the 905 looking in complete control in the second quarter, but hitting just 19 of their 50 first-half field-goal attempts for the half left them with just a six-point lead to carry into the break.
As if the first-half shooting wasn’t bad enough, the 905 shot just 3-of-19 (15.8%) from the field in the third quarter for a season-low output for a quarter of SEVEN points. It was a case of some poor decision-making and shot selection as they persisted with shooting jumpers (including 0-for-5 from three) in spite of their earlier success inside. Dallas Lauderdale may have had something to do with that, as he finished the game with seven of the Red Claw’s 13 blocked shots for the game.
The Red Claws scored 21 points of their own, with Jordan Mickey and Marcus Georges-Hunt the most impressive. Mickey, the Red Claws assignee, scored both inside and out to lead the way with 18 points through three quarters. Georges-Hunt was scorching from the outside, hitting 4/5 threes for the game.
Despite those third quarter struggles, the 905 were still in the game, stuck five heading into the fourth. Any semblance of hope was quickly whittled away though, with the 905 mustering just 18 fourth-quarter points, five of them coming late with the game already decided. The 25 points for the half and 69 points for the game were both season-lows, so Jerry Stackhouse and his squad will definitely feel as though they let one slip away. The third quarter could be looked at as a teaching point, with the team not really asserting themselves and setting the tone for the half.
He will take heart from holding a team with the fifth-best offensive rating to just 80 points, and could just chalk down the poor shooting to the offense just having one of those nights.
- In their previous matchup, the 905 became the first team to hold the Red Claws under 100 points this season. They did it again, but with a shooting night as cold as theirs, it didn’t matter.
- This was a rare night where the 905 were out rebounded, but that’s to be expected with so many missed shots for the Red Claws to pounce on.
- Throw this one in the trash and start 2017 fresh.
- The 905 can focus on New Year’s plans now, as they won’t play the Erie Bayhawks till Monday, January 2nd at 7:30pm ET. It will be the third of a four-game home stand.