G-League

Nets dominate the glass, oust the 905 from the playoffs

Photo credit: Trung Ho / TrungHo.ca

Raptors 905 99, Long Island Nets 112 | Box Score | Nets move on.
Assignees: Chris Boucher, Malcolm Miller (905),  Dzanan Musa (Nets)
Two-ways: Jordan Loyd (905), Theo Pinson, Alan Williams (Nets)

Before this game jumped off, Coach Jama Mahlalela suggested that the team that won the rebounding battle would be walking away victorious. The Nets thoroughly dominated the 905 in that vicinity behind the efforts of Alan Williams, Dzanan Musa, and Mitchell Creek in particular. The relentless work of the aforementioned players helped guide the Nets to a positive rebounding margine of twenty (58-38) and tells a larger story of paint dominance. Whether it was Williams tireless work in the paint, or Tahjere McCall’s relentless attacking in transition it was clear that the Nets were going to flex their respective muscles on the inside.

Theo Pinson – who has a real case for G-League MVP – was masterful controlling the pace of this game. His length on defense was a real deterrent for Jordan Loyd, who had his offensive game suppressed for a large part of this contest. In a game where guards had a tough time finishing at the hoop, Pinson’s length and patience navigating the paint was a standalone. Wade Baldwin IV met Pinson’s offensive output in the first half, making really crisp decisions when he was attacking downhill; creating looks for himself, Chris Boucher and others.

The Nets kept pressing on the glass and opened up a 15-point lead by the end of the first half. The 905 had run into a smidge of foul trouble (Boucher, Loyd) and didn’t have the creativity on offense or size on defense to keep up with the Nets. Turnovers, foul trouble and missed shots fueled the Nets in the second half before Coach Mahlalela opted to try a 1-2-2 zone on defense. The zone was a type of divine interventioned, it seemed, as the Nets were vexed by the switch in the 905 defense. A concerted effort to locate their box-outs and push the Nets into uncomfortable shots spurred on a massive 905 run. An inspired bit of three-point shooting, capped off by a Boucher 4-point play, took the 905 from a 21-point deficit to a 5-point one. By that time, the third quarter was winding down and G-League coach of the year, Will Weaver was eager to get his team under control.

The start of the fourth quarter was a disaster for the 905. The Nets came out with some clinical ball movement and immediately cashed in two triples. A large portion of the 905’s hard work was eaten up in less than a minute. Couple that with the fact that the 905 didn’t score for the first four minutes of the final frame and it clearly spelled doom for one of the G-League’s finest institutions. With four minutes left in the quarter, Musa hit a three that stretched the Nets lead out to 22-points and that seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. The 905 were resilient, but a quiet game from Malcolm Miller and relatively quiet game from Loyd left them without a hope. All-in-all the 905 fell to the first place Nets 112-99, and fell short of a third straight championship bid.

Notes

  • Assignment notes
    • Malcolm Miller – Quiet game, didn’t assert himself on offense. 6PTS, 2RBS.
    • Chris Boucher – Monster second half, eventually climbing to 33PTS on the night, and showing a lot of dexterity in the lane as well as great touch from beyond-the-arc (4-8). 33PTS, 7RBS, 3 BLKS
  • Other 905 player notes
    • Jordan Loyd – Struggled with Pinson’s length. 17PTS, 6AST, 6RBS
    • Wade Baldwin IV – 18PTS, 8RBS, 4AST
  • Nets notes:
  • Theo Pinson – 20PTS, 7AST, 4RBS
  • Tahjere McCall – 22PTS, 3AST, 4RBS

The 905 had a puncher’s chance in this game as their record with both Loyd and Boucher in the line-up was 20-5 going into this one. A loss to the first seeded Nets doesnt’ dampen anything the 905 have done this year, as they remain one of the highlights of the Raptors organization as a whole and will continue to be a home for terrific player development. Great job by Coach Mahlalela and the team this year.

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