Greensboro Swarm 103, Raptors 905 109 | Box Score
Two-ways: J.P. Macura (Swarm), Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd (905)
Assignees: Malachi Richardson (905)
The 905 had Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd and Malachi Richardson all in the lineup for the first time in the new year, and they led the 905 with 67 combined points in a back-to-back sweep of the Greensboro Swarm.
The game was mostly decided in the third quarter. Jordan Loyd and Malachi Richardson had waited patiently to get going, attempting only 10 shots combined in the first half. But after a slow start to the quarter, Loyd hit a pair of threes, which was sandwiched by a ridiculous reverse dunk by Boucher. Richardson also made a couple shots, all resulting the lead ballooning from four to 15 in four minutes. The best sequence came at the end of this run. New pickup Derek Cooke missed a bunny at the rim, grabbed his own, rebound, missed again, Boucher grabbed the ensuing board, and got fouled. Mahlalela mentioned the importance of grit before the game. He got plenty in the third, with the 905 holding a 13 a point lead into the fourth
With the game seemingly in hand in the final minutes, the 905 got complacent, fouling a three point shooter and giving up another three to Swarm two-way J.P. Macura to cut the lead to two possessions. But the 905 managed to get a couple stops and made enough free throws to ice the game.
- Two-Way 905 Player Notes
- Boucher – very mature game from the G League MVP candidate. He had 21 first half points on layups, dunks, and elbow threes. The maturity came in the second half, in which he only scored 6 points, but with the Swarm swarming (sorry) him defensively, it was appropriate to dial the shooting back, and let Loyd and Richardson take the team home (more on that below). Boucher finished with 27 points on 10-for-21 shooting, 3-for-8 from three, and a disappointing 4-for-8 from the foul line. He also blocked five shots, one with his elbow. Boucher’s best highlight was a baseline drive where he threw down a dunk on the other side of the rim while still elevating.
- Jordan Loyd – Patient and ruthlessly efficient. Loyd only took 6 shots in the first half, but it made sense because Boucher was cooking. In the second half Loyd got going with a couple big threes and a gorgeous Statue of Liberty layup. Three key plays – with the 905 up 11 in the fourth, Loyd rudely blocked Cat Barber at the rim to create a turnover and a sweet highlight. With under 4 minutes left – Loyd made a rather aimless drive to basket, threw the ball over his head with his left hand and banked it in. Then up 12 with 2:15 to go Loyd made an outlandish one-footed fadeaway from 20 feet. All told – 7-for-11 from the field, 3-for-6 from three, 5-for-5 from the line, 22 points, 7 assists, alas, 6 turnovers.
- Other 905 Player Notes
- Richardson – showed good patience with his offence while not letting it affect his defence. He only had two shot attempts by late in the first half, while guarding one of the Swarm’s top perimeter threats in Jaylen Barford with fervour. In the second half Richardson became more aggressive, but stayed efficient, going 6-for-14 from the field, 3-for-7 from three, for 18 points. His up-fake, escape-side-dribble corner three is rather lethal. The 8 turnovers are a bit of an eyesore, though. An aside – the headline says “quasi-Big 3′ because Richardson is technically an NBA player who surely doesn’t want to continue spending a ton of time in the G League.
- Jordan Howard – the 905’s new point guard has looked impressive through 4 games with the team. His jumper is gorgeous. He started 4-for-4 in first quarter, all by way of the jimmy. As the game wore on he mixed in a couple pretty drives to the hoop – an aspect of his game that Coach Mahlalela said he didn’t know he had before today. One fun sequence – with the offence bogging down early in the third, Mahlalela said to Howard while he was bring the ball up “Let’s play a little bit.” Apparently that meant throwing in a sick crossover and drilling a three.
- Derek Cooke Jr. – the 905 recently traded open tryout PF / C Khadeem Lattin and picked up Cooke. The guy seems a better version of Lattin – slightly stronger, better offensive rebounder, better help defender. Granted he only went 1-for-6, but they were all bunnies around the rim that he’ll presumably start to make, and he added 9 rebounds in just 18 minutes. Where does 905 GM Chad Sanders find these guys?
- 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.