G-League

905 Throttle Maine in the 4th in Comeback Win

dddMaine Red Claws 112, Raptors 905 121  | Box Score 
Two-ways: R.J. Hunter (Red Claws), (none for 905)

Without any NBA experience in their lineup, the 905 soundly out-executed the Red Claws in the fourth quarter, outscoring them by 17, en route to a nine-point win. Toronto’s MiKyle McIntosh led the way with a season-high 30 points, twice his previous best. Derek Cooke Jr. had his best game with the 905 – pulling down 16 rebounds, nine offensive, and going 7-for-10 from the field for 17 points. Jordan Howard also had his best game with the team – scoring 27 points, adding eight assists to just one turnover.

With the 905 down eight headed into the fourth quarter, Myck Kabongo provided a huge spark in the opening minutes, hitting a layup, grabbing a tough rebound in traffic, then assisting on a dunk in transition, all in succession. The lead was gone less than two minutes in. The turning point may have come with 8:30 left, though. Maine’s two-way R.J. Hunter took an inadvertent elbow to the head from Derek Cooke Jr., left the game, returned briefly, then was subbed out, appearing to have not recovered. With Maine’s 19.5 PPG scorer out, the 905 forced seven turnovers in the frame, leading to nine fast break points. Up four heading into crunch time, the 905 executed a beautiful play out of a timeout, with Duane Notice knocking down the dagger three.

It seemed like smoke and mirrors kept the game close in the first half. While the Red Claws shot 10-for-20 from three point range, and their NBA-experienced talent in Hunter and Archie Goodwin were scoring prolifically (10 and 9 points respectively), the 905 countered with energy and efficient fast breaks. Cooke provided extra possessions inside,  and the 905 went 6-for-10 in the half for 15 points in transition. The half time deficit only being six was fortunate, and critical to providing the 905 a chance to come back in the fourth.

The 905 play the second of their five-game home stand on Wednesday against the Santa Cruz Warriors at 7:30pm.

Notes

  • Two-Way 905 Player Notes – none available
  • Other 905 Player Notes
    • MiKyle McIntosh – with Chris Boucher now a Raptor, McIntosh will be the team’s primary front court scorer. His footwork and touch were impressive on Monday. Not only did he finish on a number of post ups, but the team ran a number of sets where he caught the ball outside the three point line, and successfully weaved inside for layup after layup.”He had a bit of a stinker last game (scoring nine points in a loss on the road to Maine), so we challenged him to step up and put him in a space where he could be effective,” Head Coach Jama Mahlalela said post game. “He rose to the occasion and that’s what you need to do. The big players have to play well and he really did that, so I’m proud of him.” Defensively, McIntosh was fantastic when he had to switch onto Maine’s point guards, never allowing an attempt at the rim (if I’m remembering correctly). Rounding out his game was a gorgeous block on Archie Goodwin late in the fourth quarter that had the crowd gasping.
    • Derek Cooke Jr. – a fantastic athlete who lacked a bit of finesse around the basket early in his tenure with the 905. But Cooke has come on of late – scoring in double figures the last three games, while averaging 11 rebounds over that span. “Cooke’s ability to rebound is high end, probably one of the best in the G League,” Mahlalela said before the game. “He’s a far different player from when we first got him, and he’s climbing quickly upwards,” Mahlalela concluded, while giving an emphatic hand gesture to indicate the ascension. Cooke looked like Kenneth Faried has for the Rockets – pulling down nine offensive rebounds, and seeming to generally frustrate his opponents. His highlights included a tough alley oop dunk where it seemed like he suspended himself in mid-air before the lob reached him, and throwing a tenuous one-handed bounce pass to Jordan Howard in transition for a key fourth quarter basket. The most promising part of Cooke’s game on Monday was his patience when he caught the ball in traffic. Rather than rush his shot, which he had a habit of doing in his first few games with the team, he waited an extra beat before going up and finishing over the defence. 
    • Jordan Howard – with Jordan Loyd acting as the emergency point guard for the Raptors, Howard is taking advantage of his newfound minutes in Mississauga. His last three games he’s scored 27, 18, and 27 points. On Monday Howard used his tiny 5’11 frame to perfection, scoring multiple layups while using his opposite hip to fend off the defence. In a game with little margin for error his eight assists to one turnover were huge.
  • Two-Way Red Claws Player Notes
    • R.J. Hunter- the game’s only two-way player was a threat all night, until he got hurt early in the fourt. He’s only (listed at) 6’5, but his arms are crazy long, he has a great handle and a smooth three point shot. At least it looks smooth, he’s only shooting 33.3% from distance this season, but he went 3-for-5 from long range on Monday. With the 905 constantly having to come back, Hunter checked in early in the fourth, presumably to lead the final push for Maine. But he caught that aforementioned elbow from Cooke, which effectively and unfortunately ended his night.
  • Other Red Claw Player Notes
    • Archie Goodwin – nice, well-rounded game (there’s a reason he has 165 NBA games under his belt). At 6’5 Goodwin has an impressive handle, able to finish from all angles around the rim. Though he only shot 3-for-10 on Monday, his dribble penetration was a constant threat, leading to 10 free throw attempts. He had a team high 24 points to go with 10 rebounds.
  • 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. Next up: the 905 host the Windy City Bulls on Saturday at 2pm.

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