Grand Rapids Drive 91, Raptors 905 106 | Box Score
Two-ways: Keenan Evans, Zach Lofton (Drive) Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd (905)
Assignees: Malachi Richardson (905)
After a mediocre first half mired by foul trouble, Chris Boucher took over Sunday afternoon’s game against the Grand Rapids Drive, pouring in 19 second-half points on 7-for-8 from the field en route to the 905’s fourth straight win. And with Kay Felder out, fellow two-way Jordan Loyd thrived with primary point guard duties. Loyd allowed the 905 to tread water early on with a couple big threes, and, like Boucher, went off in the 2nd half. Loyd finished his third straight 30 point game on 9-for-16 shooting, to go with five assists, and four turnovers.
It seems like opposing centres have a target on Boucher’s back. During the 905’s perfect three-game road trip, Greensboro Centre Chinanu Onuaku and Fort Wayne power forward Alize Johnson went at the G League’s leading scorer and shot blocker, bodying him up, and staring him down after successful post-ups. On Sunday, a battle brewed early between Boucher and the Drive’s 7-foot centre Johnny Hamilton. Hamilton threw down a big dunk on Boucher early, and the Canadian picked up two fouls less than half-way through the first. The energy was lacking from the entire roster, leading to a 31-17 deficit after 1.
With 8:37 left in the second quarter Boucher stepped back in, and the tone changed. Boucher stayed disciplined on defence, altering shots inside, and using his infinite length to contest jumpers. Loyd made a couple beautiful drives for layups to help cut the deficit to 9. Malachi Richardson, who’d combined for 60 points in his only two games with the 905, started 0-for-7 from the field. But rather than continue to hoist outside shots, he put on his playmaking hat, assisting on two Chris Boucher buckets off pretty pick-and-rolls. The 17 point deficit when Boucher subbed on had been cut to 2 by half time.
Boucher was monstrous in the third. After Hamilton scored 11 points in the first half, Boucher, as Joel Embiid says, seemed to “occupy real estate” in Hamilton’s head. Boucher blocked a Hamilton dunk attempt, then Hamilton badly short-armed a hook on his next touch. Offensively Boucher owned Hamilton as well, mixing in dunks, tip-ins, and dribble penetration, adding up to a 15 point quarter on 5-for-6 from the field. Like the Drive did to them in the 1st, the 905 outscored Grand Rapids by 14 in the third to lead by 12.
With Boucher sitting to start the 4th, Open Tryout walk-on Khadeem Lattin filled in beautifully, shutting out Hamilton on the scoresheet for nearly 5 minutes, while adding a big offensive rebound / put-back. The lead actually grew to 16 with Boucher on the bench, and the starters closed it out from there.
- Two-Way 905 Player Notes:
- Boucher – sometimes it looks like that 6’11, 200 pound frame can’t handle the athletic bigs that lurk around the G League. The Drive’s Hamilton flat had his way with Boucher early, with dunks and layups coming easy. With his team down big Mahlalela called a timeout in the 2nd quarter and got his star back on track. “we sort of said Ok guys enough is enough, let’s really start playing, let’s get locked in, let’s get back to what we do,” Mahlalela said. “And Chris sort of took ownership of that, and I challenged him to do so. He responded. When he plays engaged, locked-in basketball, he’s a real talent. When he sort of is more laissez-faire and relaxed and sort-of out there, he’s not as good. We need him to be locked in for 48 for him to be an exceptional basketball player.”
- Loyd – like Boucher, Loyd has a two-way contract. Only he gets a tenth of the fanfare, if that. Understandable, since Boucher is Canadian, but otherwise, Loyd has impressed over the early part of this season with the 905. “You can give the ball to Jordan and things can slow down for a second, and he can take a bit of pressure and absorb whatever’s happening in the game and make a big play,” Coach Mahalela said before the game “He’s shown it time and time again. He can make big shots and make big plays if it’s with the pass or the shot and that for a team is really critical, especially as we’ve had a lot of crunch games.”
- Other 905 Player Notes
- Malachi Richardson – he’ll be sick about his offensive output – 0-for-12 from the field – but his frustration didn’t affect the rest of his game. Five assists is a highly encouraging number from someone who’s playmaking was questioned when the 905 acquired him late last season. Add in seven rebounds and at least Richardson netted out to have a positive impact.
- Deng Adel – the former Louisville Cardinal is looking like a tantilizing prospect. 20 points on 7-for-13 from the field, with a couple of vicious slams and two three pointers on five attempts.
- 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.
Here are the Chris Boucher highlights: