Photo credit: Trung Ho / TrungHo.ca
Raptors 905 105 , Wisconsin Herd 83 Box Score
Assignees: Alfonzo McKinnie, Malachi Richardson (905), D.J. Wilson, (Herd)
Two-ways: Marshall Plumlee (Herd)
The first Herd points of the game came on a Brandon Jennings 1-0 break in which he passed off to a teammate, who was fouled for free throws. Despite the mockable first moment for the Herd, the 905 struggled in their own right to begin the game, as they were unable to find open looks or notch any points on the scoreboard for the first few minutes. This was the high point in the game for the Herd.
In fact, Kaza Keane – usually a non-threat in terms of his own scoring – notched the first two points for the 905. Freshly returned from Team Canada’s FIBA roster, Keane was a welcome addition to the 905 club, especially as the team has been lacking a single point guard for the last several games. On the other end, D.J. Wilson was active early for the Herd, blocking shots, and driving early for easy layups.
Malachi Richardson struggled early, with two consecutive travels to begin the game. He twice pump-faked, juked one way, and then shot off in the other direction, only to hear a whistle condemning his moves to rule-breaking uselessness. Before the 905 knew it, the score was 12-2 early for the Herd.
Turnovers galore on both ends allowed the 905 to creep their way back into the game, and they were able to take a 1-point lead going into the second quarter. Really though: there were a lot of turnovers – 4 total travels in the first 8 minutes. In all the chaos, Kennedy Meeks thrived, compiling a near double-double in only the first quarter. The two teams combined for a mere 28 total points in the first quarter, including a Negus Webster-Chan buzzer beating 3 to end the 1st frame.
Webster-Chan opened the 2nd quarter the same way, with a made 3 in transition to stretch the lead to 5. The 905 defence locked in from there, holding the Herd to only a pair of points in the first several minutes of the 2nd quarter. Rotations were crips, forcing Herd attackers to face a pair of defenders at any moment with a thicket of arms defending any potential pass.
As an aside, Meeks’ post passing was as impressive as I’ve ever seen. He saw several actions in advance, passing the ball from the post to a teammate who frequently hadn’t even cut himself open. His high-level vision created multiple good looks for the 905, who were able to push their lead to double digits before halftime struck.
Just when it seemed like the 905 would run away with the game, sloppy play on both ends allowed the Herd back into the game. Meeks proved unable to hang with a few drives from guards – usually a strong point of his defensive game – and 905 players missed some open jumpers. The Herd led 36-29 with only a few minutes left in the half, especially thanks to some timely shooting from James Blackmon Jr.
Red-hot Malachi Richardson shooting in the third quarter put the 905 ahead early, but Xavier Munford put his Herd ahead only a possession later. Munford proved nearly unstable for the Herd through the first few quarters of the game. While the Herd moved away from their hot hand, the 905 were able to stifle any Wisconsin attack. Their impregnable defence led several fast-break scores, and the 905 again pulled into the lead midway through the 3rd quarter. Davion Berry’s 3-point shooting especially was a killer for the 905. Again, the 905 were able to score an exciting, late basket to end the quarter: this time, with a Kaza Keane drive ending in an and-1 to put the 905 up 14 to head into the 4th (a Munford buzzer-beating 3 would cut the lead to 11).
The 4th quarter was all 905, as they stretched a 10-point lead to 20+. The real difference in the game was that Brandon Jennings – frequently the entire Herd offence – finished 0/10 in the game with 0 points. It’s hard for a basketball team to win when its most important and impactful offensive player doesn’t score a single point. Meanwhile, the returning Keane led the 905 to finish 46/43/85 from the field. Richardson led the team with 20 points, but 6 905 players finished in double digits. The all-around effort allowed the 905 to stomp the Herd for the second time in the past week.
- Assignment notes
- Alfonzo McKinnie had a difficult game. He did finish with 16 points, but he also compiled 6 turnovers and was multiple times blocked at the rim. He projects as an efficient scorer, and this game is just an anomaly. He’ll bounce back.
- Malachi Richardson was solid. I can’t specifically remember any of his points, but he finished with a team-high 20 points. That’s what’ll happen when you shoot 4/8 from the 3-point arc. Just a strong performance, especially after a sketchy start.
- Other 905 player notes:
- Welcome back, Kaza Keane and Aaron Best! They may not have offered massive games against the Herd, but the 905 finally have some rotation players back, you know, in the rotation. Keane is a terrific passer, and his presence allows Davion Berry to move off the ball, where he is most comfortable. Berry finished with 3 made 3s, 5 assists, and a game high (and ridiculous) +35 in the game. Damn the 905 rotation is incredible when it’s intact (and Lorenzo Brown isn’t even recovered yet from his ankle injury.
- Injury notes:
- Lorenzo Brown remains out with an injured ankle. Get well soon.
- Herd notes:
- So, yeah, 0/10 for Brandon Jennings. Ouch. That’s a tough game to win for the Herd with Jennings shooting like that.
- On the other hand, Xavier Munford finished with 27 points. He looked comfortable leading the offence, and his shooting provided a desperately needed spark for the Herd in the face of an impenetrable 905 defence.
- D.J. Wilson is a solid Bucks player, with the length and athleticism to play center in the NBA. He finished with 22 points (2 made 3s) and several highlight plays. He should end up a solid player at the higher level.
- The 905 return home on Saturday the 10th against the Canton Charge. A friendly reminder that promo code “REPUBLIC905” will get you a discount at this link all season long.