G-League

Crunch Time Comeback Falls Short vs Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Warriors 114, Raptors 905 111  | Box Score 
Two-ways: Marcus Derrickson (Warriors), (none for 905)
Notable Affiliate: Malcolm Miller (905)

The 905 nearly erased a nine point deficit in the final three minutes, but Josh Adams missed a three pointer near the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime. Malcolm Miller scored a team-high 24 points in his first G League game since signing his NBA contract, going 5-for-8 from three point range. It’s only Miller’s seventh game since missing six months with a shoulder surgery, making his season-high 39 minutes an encouraging sign he’s approaching top form.

“If I’m out there on the floor I’m 100%. That’s gonna be my mentality going forward,” Miller said about his conditioning post-game. “But I do feel better playing with everybody. The wind’s keeping up. (I) caught a couple cramps today, but just gotta keep fighting through to get back.”

Aside from missing the game-tying three Adams was brilliant, scoring 23 points and handing out 10 assists (coupled with six turnovers). Adams also threw down a vicious poster dunk in the final minute of the game after logging 37 minutes.

“A super tenacious athlete. He doesn’t take no for an answer,” Head Coach Jama Mahlalela said after the game. “He likes to really attack into the paint. That’s what his strong suit is. He definitely did a good job of drawing contact and getting to the rim, and that’s one of the main parts of our offence.”

The 905 were hamstrung by a number of (perceived) non-calls that had the normally non-confrontational Mahlalela questioning the officials throughout the game.

“This is a development league for all of us. For the players, for the coaches, for the officials, for the training staff,” Mahlalela said in a politically correct but completely genuine tone. “They’ll review the film the same way we review film. Overall the officials we have are great, (but they) sometimes make mistakes.”

The League-best Warriors countered with a balanced attack – their starters all scored in double figures, while guard Kendrick Nunn poured in a game-high 25 off the bench.

The 905 enter a one week break with a record of 22-and-15, good for third in the Eastern Conference.

Notes

  • Two-Way 905 Player Notes – none available
  • Other 905 Player Notes
    • Malcolm Miller – The quick elevation and high release point on his jumper make contested and wide open shots look equally effortless. Of his five made threes four were tightly contested. Defensively Miller was consistently in good position, providing well-timed help throughout the game, and taking a charge in the second quarter.
    • One aspect of Miller‘s game since his comeback that has yet to come around is his penetration. On two drives in the second quarter Miller was blocked and stripped for turnovers. But in the second half he was able to finish on a drive that started from behind the three point line. “(Miller) did some new things today that he hadn’t been able to the last week or so of being healthy and being active,” Mahlalela said, referring to the dribble-drives. “He’s on a path to getting better and getting back to ultimate performance. He was able to penetrate to the hoop without fear, without any sense of what could go wrong, and attack to finish, and that’s a really good sign for him.”
    • That fear may have entered Miller‘s mind on one notable play, though. In the fourth quarter Miller leaked out in transition and was fouled from behind, leading to a hard fall, and Miller slowly getting up. Miller’s devastating shoulder injury occured on a transition play as well. “From the previous experience (fear) does creep in, but you gotta play as hard as possible,” Miller said about Wednesday’s collision. “Instead of dunking it I chose to try to finish it through the foul and worry about my landing. Stuff like that does creep in. That’s mostly transition. If I’m going in the lane trying to dunk on somebody, or if I’m diving for a ball that’s just hustle plays that you gotta live with and you gotta deal with. I’m not so worried about that.”
    • Josh Adams – a fearless athlete who throws himself into defenders on drives to the basket, making him very difficult to officiate. On Monday Mahlalela said Adams was still adjusting to how and when he’s being officiated in those situations. On Wednesday Adams was getting visibly frustrated with non-foul calls on a bunch of drives, glaring at the officials on a few occasions. But he kept penetrating, eventually earning  seven free throws. I’m not sure if he’s on any NBA scouts’ radar but in his first month in the G League Adams has turned into a threat any time he has the ball, able to score from anywhere on the floor, while showing great improvement in his passing with bigs in the pick and roll.
  • 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.

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