Raptors 905 145, Erie Bayhawks 103 | Box ScoreAssignees: Malachi Richardson (905)
Two-ways: Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd (905), Jaylen Adams (Bayhawks)
Blowouts can go from fun to sad real quick. On Tuesday morning, Erie may have made the trip to Mississauga, but they did not show up to play. By half time the lead was 44 (44!), at which point you hoped the G League could break from tradition and call the game. But the teams fulfilled their obligations, and the Raptors improved to 4-and-1 with a 145-103 beat-down.
11am games aren’t normally bursting with energy. The players are walking through warmups, media members’ eyelids are half shut. But tipoff came early to accommodate thousands of school children – well-rested, screaming school children. Also, 905 Head Coach Jama Mahlalela calls himself an energy coach, so the atmosphere was apt. Mahlalela was talking with old colleague and current Clippers assistant Rex Kalamian late last night, after LA upset the Warriors in overtime.
“I said, this is incredible. I have a game at 11 in the morning, with thousands of little school kids, yelling, screaming. How awesome is this?”
Surprisingly, both teams also came out with energy, each pushing the pace off the opening tip. But on possessions where the pace slowed, the 905’s half court offence looked the best it has all season. It seemed the ball had a magnet for a player with an open three, with the 905 starting 6-of-8 from deep, including 5 makes coming from the coveted corner. They’d go on to go 19-for-44 (43%) from behind the arc.
But more fun than an efficient half court offence is the growing legend that is Chris Boucher. Midway through the first Boucher lit up the crowd by blocking a three, racing out in transition, and throwing a dunk down with two hands while getting hit in the head. Less than 8 minutes into the game Boucher had 10 points, 3 boards and 2 blocks already.
When Boucher sat for the rest of the quarter, the offence didn’t miss a beat. Though the ball movement wasn’t quite as fluid, Malachi Richardson, Myck Kabongo and Christian Watford all made shots to extend the lead to 27 by the end of the 1st. A franchise record 45 points in the quarter had the Raps in complete control.
In the second quarter Richardson went bonkers to blow the game open. It started with a smooth drive to the hoop, a drive-and-kick for an open three, and three triples. He also played some inspired defence on RJ Hunter – who averaged over 20 points last season in the G League. It’s only two games but Richardson looks like a different player from the one they acquired for BRUNO! late last season. Richardson had 25 by half time, and 34 by game’s end. 8-for-15 from deep will do it.
“It’s been great,” Richardson said after the game. “Having a lot of fun, playing fast, scoring a bunch of points, and playing team defense. That’s been the main focus. I think we come in and score a bunch of points and everyone’s happy.”
The rest of the second quarter was a parade of threes, dunks and blocks. You couldn’t help but feel bad for Erie Head Coach Noel Gillespie, dutifully clapping his hands at anything remotely positive that his team did. But giving up 80 points and shooting 26% from the field made the second half academic (and sad).
- Two-Way 905 Player Notes:
- Boucher – the guy is ridiculous. Elbow jumpers, threes from the corner and above the break, and multiple alley oops on the fast break led to 27 points on 9-for-14 from the field. His most impressive bucket (for me) was midway through the first quarter. Boucher was trailing a fast break down the middle, caught the pass with a full head of steam, noticed a defender in position to take a charge, and slowed up enough to drop in a 9-foot floater. As per usual, he blocked or altered every shot at the rim, to the tune of 6 blocks and a plus-40 rating in 26 minutes.
- Jordan Loyd – the stroke is developing nicely. He has that Lonzo Ball-like angle to his release, but whatever works, right?. He went 8-for-12 from the field, 3-for-7 from three, for 25 points. At 6’4 Loyd also has a penchant for the highlight reel, and he showed off the elevation early in the third quarter, throwing down a monster two-handed alley oop with a defender shoving him in the process. After a minute on the floor, fortunately Loyd got up and continued to play.
- Assignment 905 Player Notes
- Richardson – compared to last season it’s night and day. Last year Richardson seemed hesitant when he touched the ball, but seeing him in person for the first time this season was striking. The fluidity of his stroke has always been there, but the elevation, ball handling, and passing is all new. While he drilled 8 threes, Richardson’s most promising plays were a couple of lovely shovel passes for an open layup and another three, and a great drive-and-kick to Boucher for an open corner three. After the game Richardson said he worked on his play-making and reads throughout the summer. It showed on Tuesday.
- Other 905 Player Notes
- Kay Felder is 5’9. He dunked the ball very hard in the fourth quarter. The bench went crazy.
- Bayhawks notes:
- Terrence Jones – 232 games NBA experience led most to think that the 905’s frontcourt had a challenge on its hands. But Jones’s only notable play was when he posted up Kay Felder, a foot his junior, in the third quarter. After plodding into the paint, Jones pivoted around Felder, went up to dunk, only to be rudely sent away by a waiting Boucher.
- IMPORTANT ADMIN NOTE
- Once again this year, the code REPUBLIC905 will get you a discount on Raptors 905 tickets. Do it! The team is fun.