Final Score | Raptors 905 123, Canton Charge 114 | Box Score
Two Ways: Oshae Brissett (905), Paul Watson Jr. (905), Matt Mooney (Charge)
Inactive: Sagaba Konate (905), Matt Morgan (905), Dean Wade (Charge), Alex Robinson (Charge), Alex Stein (Charge)
The gang is back together, and all is right with the world. For the first time during their 5-game road trip, the Raptors 905 came out ahead, defeating the Canton Charge 123-114. Paul Watson Jr. and Justin Anderson had 12 and 19 points respectively, but it was Tyler Ennis who spearheaded the win, with 35 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. The Raptors, who are not used to having a full team ever, started out uneasy, with both Paul Watson Jr., and Justin Anderson getting called for 2 personal fouls a piece in just 8 minutes.
Tyler Ennis: Undeniably, Ennis was in a slump only two weeks ago. His shooting was subpar, and it took a toll on his confidence. It’s understandable, of course, as he has yet to miss a game for Toronto since signing with them. 3 games into his season with Fenerbahce in Turkey, and he suffered a gruesome broken leg. Subsequently released from the team on October 22nd, 2018, the day after the injury occurred, the Brampton native spent the next year rehabilitating his leg, and willing himself into a position where he could play professional basketball again. And he did it. A year’s worth of work later, and Ennis dropped 35 points in a single game. More than college at Syracuse, more than with the Phoenix Suns, or the Bakersfield Jam. More than with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets, or the Los Angeles Lakers. More than in his 3 games with Fenerbahce before his career looked like it might be over right when it was starting to pick up. It was his highest scoring game as a professional, and he did it for his hometown team. But it wasn’t just the 35 points that made Ennis so spectacular. It was the way he took complete control of the game, from the first minute, defending like a shadow on the perimeter against a team that primarily shoots from afar. The way he operated as a floor general when the bench lineup of Notice, Reyes, Evans, and Baer checked in. It was in the catch and shoot 3 from a quick Nicholas Baer pass. It was in the way he positioned himself to take a charge from a much larger player, and in the way he swatted a 3-point attempt away from the hands of the Canton Charge, allowing the ball to bounce out of bounds off the Charge, and back into the hands of the 905. Tyler Ennis played 38 minutes, and every single one of them had a purpose: to prove to doubters what we already know.; Tyler Ennis is ready.
Defence: The worst basketball to watch is basketball without defence. This is why I don’t enjoy James Harden, and why I would give Ben Wallace any limb he wanted or needed, no questions asked. It’s why I named my son Kawhi, and why I keep a running tally of the charges taken by Kyle Lowry. It is also the style of basketball that the Raptors 905 refused to play. Toronto figured out quite quickly that the Canton Charge were going to shoot from beyond the arch, and not do a whole lot else. They could do that all game, that was fine with the Raptors, because they simply weren’t going to allow any of those shots to actually make it to the net. The Charge finished the game shooting 11-40 from 3, with a shooting percentage of 28%. Even from inside, the Raptors allowed 42 of 98 field goals. It wasn’t that the Charge can’t shoot, it was that the Raptors wouldn’t allow them to.
All I Wanna Do Is Go Out Trappin’ with the Shooters: The 905, however, shot from everywhere. New player Michael Bethea Jr. could not miss, shooting 3 of 7 from the field. Not a single Raptor attempted more than 6 3-point shots, and they finished shooting 54% from the field as a team. Making shots is important, but creating good shooting opportunities won the 905 this game.
Foul Trouble: Early foul trouble for Paul Watson Jr. and Justin Anderson had them both leaving early in the first half. Watson had accumulated 2 personal fouls in the first 4 minutes, with Anderson not far behind. When both came back in, they did not play with the same ferocity that earned them their respective 10-day contracts, but held back defensively and in the paint in order to stay in the game. Luckily, the way Watson can contort his body like a acrobat allowed him to slip in and past his opponents without fouling, though he did receive his 6th personal foul when the game was all but over. When you are the size of someone like Justin Anderson, you should be allowed at least 5 more personal fouls. I don’t make the rules, but if I did, this would be one of them.
Kyrie Irving: Justin Anderson just came back from a 10-day stint with the Brooklyn Nets, and after Kyrie’s needy-diva comments, I really hope he didn’t say anything negative to my returning loveable grizzly bear, because I will not hesitate to fight him.
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