Raptors905 Post-Game

Raptors 905 Lead Bayhawks Throughout in Convincing Win

Raptors 905 103 def. Erie Bayhawks 97 | Box Score
Assignees: Bruno Caboclo (905), Tyler Cavanaugh (Bayhawks)
Two-ways: Malcolm Miller, Lorenzo Brown (905), Josh Magette, Andrew White (Bayhawks)

In the battle between two of the league’s competitors for assist percentage crown (Lorenzo Brown and Josh Magette), Magette struck first by alley-ooping a pass into the net for the first basket of the game. This weirdness was almost equalled by the 905 first bucket, coming courtesy of an Aaron Best post-up (most likely his first such attempt all year, let alone his first make). The weirdness abated, though the game continued slowly, with free throws for the Bayhawks and a Brown pull-up for the 905 contributing the only few points for the next few minutes.

Magette was able to give the Bayhawks the early advantage by continually slicing through the lane and finding shooters on the kick-out. While the first few deep attempts for Erie bounced out, Jaylen Morris finally connected to give the home team a 12-7 lead midway through the first. Tyler Cavanaugh, the Bayhawk’s only NBA-assignment checked in off the bench to miss a step-back 3, though he managed to make a layup as a roller on the next possession.

Meanwhile, the 905 were held afloat by Kennedy Meeks. As has frequently happened on the season, his offence was one of the only bright spots for a 905 squad long on defence but short on offensive creators. He made a short-range floater and 4 free-throws to keep the 905 within striking distance early. Davion Berry checked in as the 905’s first player off the bench as Aaron Best picked up his second foul. Upon hearing the whistle, Best immediately walked dejectedly to the bench, knowing his time was up before Stackhouse even called another player off the bench. Berry failed to bring his usual offensive spark, missing a pair of layups quickly upon joining the action. As every 905 starter exited the game but Malcolm Miller, the 2-way wing hit a 3 to give the 905 their first lead of the game 17-16.

Shevon Thompson made his mark early, drawing fouls and using his massive 7-5 wingspan to score easy buckets out of the post. Thompson will be an NBA rotation player at some point – he’s terrific. Miller continued the 905 run with a flying putback layup to stretch the lead to 21-18. The game was a defensive slugfest, as Caboclo failed to hit multiple jumpshots. The 905 offence was really based on free throws and putbacks for long stretches.

The 905 stretched their lead in the 2nd quarter with a Davion Berry 3 and some Malcolm Miller free throws off a gorgeous post feed from Shevon Thompson. Some gorgeous passing beginning with a Kaza Keane drive and ending with a driving Berry finding a cutting Miller, resulted in Miller scoring his 11th point early. Miller then…. might have had the greatest play of all time, when he dove on a loose ball underneath Erie’s rim and threw an over-the-head, from-the-ground, backwards, no-look, alley-oop pass off the backboard to Shevon Thompson. It may not have been intentional… But my god.

On second watch (then 200th watch – seriously, this piece is going up late because I’ve been watching this gif over and over and over), this is 100% intentional and 100% the greatest play of all time.

Jaylen Morris hit a 3 midway through the 2nd to cut the 905 lead to 7. He led the way for the Bayhawks with 7 himself at the time, and he would finish with 20 on the game. Negus Webster-Chan hit a triple of his own to stretch the lead to 10 only a few moments later. Jordan Matthews responded with a 3 for Erie. Finally, shots were falling! Then Cavanaugh hit another 3 for the Bayhawks to cut the lead to 4. Importantly, this stretch occurred with Lorenzo Brown on the bench, who had been sitting the entire 2nd quarter with 2 fouls of his own. Though Brown checked back in with 4 minutes remaining in the quarter, it was Meeks who came through for the 905, punctuating a possession with multiple offensive rebounds with a putback for 2. Meeks had another putback on the next 905 possession. He dominated all night.

Caboclo managed his first bucket of the game on an above-the-break 3, which was followed by a Kethan Savage and-1. It was great to see Savage earning time, as he’s a young, athletic wing with lots of G-League upside. He might be the only 905 player who could compete with Aaron Best in a dunk contest, so it’s good to see him getting time and playing well. The 905 led 53-47 heading into half, but they failed to pull away as a result of their putrid 5/23 shooting from 3. Caboclo’s 1/7 from 3 hurt there. The offence was basically driven by offensive rebounding, as the team had 11 in the first half and finished with 16 on the night.

The same principles allowed the 905 to continue their winning ways in the third quarter. Kennedy Meeks and Malcolm Miller were able to score on putbacks within the first 2 minutes of the quarter. Lorenzo Brown, on the other hand, was playing unlike his usual steady self. He threw the ball away several times, even on a 3-1 break when he tossed the ball high into the stands. Brown was struggling to score, as his only two points were scored early in the first quarter. Regardless, the Bayhawks offence was even more disjointed (according to the broadcast), as they missed shots horribly when they weren’t turning the ball over. The 905 defence kept them ahead more than any individual offensive play. That being said, Aaron Best also did this to put the 905 up 64-52 early in the third quarter.

Though Malcolm Miller and Fuquan Edwin hit a pair of 3s, Brown’s stagnant play continued to hurt the 905. He missed a layup driving downhill on the pick and roll (usually his wheelhouse) and then turned the ball over on a cross-court pass before the offence had even begun. As long as the ball got on the rim, the 905 centers were usually there to clean up the mess, as a missed Brown step-back 3 was rebounded by Thompson, who got to the line. Thompson also impressed on the defensive end, especially moving out to defend guards and even forcing turnovers by moving his feet and using his length. He followed that up with a massive swat near the rim. Kaza Keane checked in earlier than usual for Brown, who simply wasn’t himself. Berry hit a corner 3 and a pair of free throws to steady the lead at 81-68 heading into the 4th quarter.

For Erie, Magette finally began asserting himself via scoring in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3 to break the ice a minute in. He finished with 15p-10a, which was enough to out-duel fellow star point guard Lorenzo Brown on the night. Keane was able to keep the 905 ahead by double digits, stealing an offensive rebound to lay it up, then finding Shevon Thompson in semi-transition for a dunk. Thompson continued his stellar defence, forcing Jeremy Evans (yes, that Jeremy Evans) – who had bodied his way into fantastic position – into a difficult look through great footwork and arm length.

Despite some Jaylen Morris wizardy under the rim and behind the arc for the Bayhawks, the 905 were simply too much. By the time the starters checked back in halfway through the 4th, the game was all but over. The Bayhawks made a run, but it was too little too late, despite some continued poor play from Brown late. Caboclo was able to contribute a clutch 3 on his patented above-the-break 3 out of a horns set.

The 905 won through incredible defence and amazing offensive rebounding on the other end. While Malcolm Miller played terrifically as a shooter, cutter, and rebounder, the 905 won without large contributions from any other assignment or 2-way player. Lorenzo Brown and Caboclo both had off games, but the talented and determined combo of Kennedy Meeks and Shevon Thompson were too much for the far-thinner frontcourt of the Bayhawks. As a result, they led the Bayhawks in free throw attempts 28-13, and that proved to be enough of a difference in the 6-point game.

Notes

    • Assignment notes
      • Caboclo’s shot wasn’t great tonight, obviously. But he still found some minor ways to contribute. On offence he wasn’t forcing his shot, and he several times swung the ball from the top of the key to a more-open shooter than himself. His looks were open, though he didn’t manage to make enough. He’s a streaky shooter, but it’s still encouraging to see him making mostly good decisions when things aren’t going his way. He looked to have lost faith in his shot late – he needs to keep mental focus throughout games, whether he’s hitting or missing.
      • McKinnie was with the Raps after a quiet night against the Westchester Knicks last game.
    • 905 notes
      • Kennedy Meeks is simply dominant. His offensive rebounding kept the 905 offence breathing for large stretches of play. He finished with 14p-13r-3b. He even came through late in the fourth when the 905 gave him the ball on the elbow and flew cutters all around the big man, as if he were Blake Griffin. He found Lorenzo Brown for a layup.
      • Shevon Thompson was no less impressive than his center counterpart. He contributed 14p-11r-1b, and he even moved his feet well multiple times defending on the perimeter.
      • Malcolm Miller led the way for the 905 with 24 points. His 3/4 from behind the arc was one of the only first-look options for the 905 that was working tonight. His cutting provided space for ball-handlers who frequently found themselves in tight spots, and he hit the offensive glass as well as anyone (4 offensive rebounds). He’s basically playing like Alfonzo McKinnie, who he replaced in the starting lineup tonight.
      • Lorenzo Brown did not look himself. He finished with 8 points on 11 attempted shots. He missed layups and free throws, and he turned the ball over like it was the beginning of the season. This happens, even to the best players. Importantly, the 905 managed to win despite off games from Caboclo and Brown. Early in the season, when those two struggled, the 905 never would have put up 103 points. That has changed, especially as Meeks and Thompson have dominated down low.
    • Bayhawks notes
      • Jaylen Morris played great in the fourth. He finished with a team-high 20 points.
      • Tyler Cavanaugh hurt his ankle in the second quarter, which is a tough blow for the Hawks assignment. Hopefully it’s not serious. He finished with 7 points in only 10 minutes.
      • Josh Magette finished with 10 assists, as he frequently sliced into the lane and found his teammtes. If he were more of a scoring threat off the dribble or the shot, he could be a solid NBA guard. His handle is tight, and his vision is even more impressive.

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