Final Score | Lakeland Magic 112, Raptors 905 105 | Box Score
Two Ways: Vic Law (Magic) Oshae Brissett (905), Paul Watson Jr. (905)
The 905 are 2-and-7 in games decided by three points or less this season. Monday’s loss to the Lakeland Magic was a seven point margin, but the outcome was decided by four fateful possessions in crunch time. With Lakeland up one with under two minutes left, 905 point guard Tyler Ennis missed two straight floaters, and Lakeland’s Josh Maggette earned four points out of a floater of his own and two free throws. The loss was extra painful as the Magic hold the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The 905 fall to 10-and-16, and sit 12th in the East, 4.5 games behind the Magic.
Oshae Brissett had some bounce to him the whole night. He went 4-for-8 from three point range, which will provide a healthy boost to his 20.7 3FG% coming in, and celebrated several of them with Joel Embiid-esque flair against the Raptors in Game 3, He also dunked a lot, all resulting in a team-high 24 points.
Devin Robinson has developed a beautiful chemistry with Tyler Ennis in the pick and roll, which has led to nightly monster alley oops. With Brissett, Paul Watson and Tyler Ennis active, Robinson slid nicely into a peripheral scoring role, relying mostly on his elite rim running ability on Monday, going 6-for-7 from the field for 19 points. He also defended admirably against Lakeland’s strong / athletic frontcourt of Melvin Frasier Jr (12 points) and Michale Kyser (16 points).
It wouldn’t be fair to call Tyler Ennis‘s game “bad”, but after a strong start he finished an inefficient 5-for-17 from the field. Before Monday’s loss Ennis had been on a tear, averaging over 20 points and seven assists in his last six games. But on Monday, Ennis was simply outplayed by his counterpart Josh Magette, who had 23 points and 13 assists, and seemed to have the 905’s entire defence on a string, especially in crunch time.
Paul Watson seemed to play a bit outside himself on Monday. He’s thrived as a spot up shooter, at one point leading the G League at over 50% from behind the arc. But on Monday Watson didn’t get many catch and shoot opportunities, and seemed to get stuck in dicey situations on dribble penetration. Watson shot 5-for-15 from the field, 1-for-7 on three pointers, and turned it over four times. He also had six assists and six rebounds.
Watson’s brilliant outside shooting and judiciously-selected drives helped him earn a 10-day contract from the Atlanta Hawks in early January. That contract has since lapsed, and head coach Jama Mahlalela knows sustaining that elite shooting and decision making will be key if Watson hopes for a return to the League.
“I think his time in Atlanta – that’s the first time he’s ever touched the NBA,” Mahlalela said before Monday’s game. “I think he enjoyed it. And now it’s like – now you’ve enjoyed it, but now you gotta go work at it, now you gotta get better. You can’t just be happy to be there now you gotta actually push the curve little bit more.”
The 905 are in the midst of a brutal four games in six night stretch (and 14 games in 24 nights). They hope for a reprieve against the Greensboro Swarm on Wednesday, who sit last in the East with a record of 5-and-21.
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