Raptors905 Post-Game

Edy Tavares dominates Drive in another blowout win

Photo by MattAzevedo.com

Raptors 905 (35-11) def. Grand Rapids Drive (22-23); 112-87 | Box Score
Assignees: Bruno Caboclo (905), Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons)

The Raptors 905 put away the the Grand Rapids Drive as early as the first quarter, riding an early 16-point lead the rest of the way for a 112-87 final.

Birthday boy Edy Tavares was his usual all-star self, scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and maintaining his steady inside presence for three blocks, and one finger wag.

They got off to a hot start with a 14-1 run to open the game that included scoring from four of the five starters. The 905 defence held the Drive to a single point (coming off a three-second technical free throw) for the opening 4:30 of the game. Grand Rapids missed their first 14 shots and didn’t make one till there was 4:25 remaining in the quarter. They were limited to 28% shooting from the field overall, and just 19% shooting on 31 three-point attempts.

The 905 went on a quick 7-0 run towards the end of the quarter to lead 26-12 and Brady Heslip providing a sweet highlight. He waited for a Tavares screen for him to go left, crossed over to the right, then spun back to his left before nailing the trey. Here, just watch it:

The second quarter was a much more even game as the 905 did well enough to maintain their lead. Heslip finished the half with 14 points and four 3-pointers, and CJ Leslie was equally impressive for his 12 points and eight rebounds. Leslie didn’t score the rest of the way but did add a couple of boards.

Heslip was at his finest from the outside once again; six 3-point hits taking his league-leading tally to 173. He’s starting to gain some separation from Scott Wood of the Santa Cruz Warriors, who sits at 160 on the season.

Axel Toupane also made time to show that he is the 905’s best player, showcasing a bit of everything but with more of a focus on his outside shot. He attempted seven 3-pointers tonight, and showed much more of a willingness to step into it than in games past. He had 19 points, 10 boards, and three assists for the night.

The Drive scored seven straight points of their own to open the third quarter to spark nightmares of the night they overturned an 18-point deficit against the 905 earlier in the season, but this was no such night.

The bench was able to sustain for the 905, adding 40 points on just 23 shots. Antwaine Wiggins led the way with his customary slashing and driving for 14 points. John Jordan, who has really come into his own this season, kept the ship sailing towards the finish line with eight points and nine assists. He was always cognizant of where Christian Watford was on the floor, and the pick-and-pop forward knocked down three triples tonight. Jordan even managed to find time to feed the birthday boy:

Bruno Caboclo was inactive tonight (perhaps the shoulder problem that bothered him last week? I’m unsure) and Pascal Siakam was recalled back to the Raptors for their road trip, something that presumably would not have happened but for the Serge Ibaka-Robin Lopez fight. Will Sheehey also sat out tonight’s game while E.J. Singler and CJ Leslie stepped into the starting lineup.

It’s a real positive to see the 905 come out with such verve after clinching both the Central Division and Eastern Conference, and it goes to show just how well Jerry Stackhouse and his staff have coached their team. The Drive are a middling team in the conference and this would have been an easy game to coast through, so kudos to the players as well for sustaining their level of play.

Notes:

  • The Drive commentators thought they were off-air before the start of the fourth quarter and one of them chimed in with, “These guys are good.” Yes, the best team in the D-League is really damn good.
  • Nice moment before the game when the 905 celebrated Tavares’ birthday today:

  • The 905 will next take on the Erie Bayhawks at the Erie Insurance Arena in the first of a home-and-home series. Tip-off is at 7:00pm EST on Thursday.

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