Final Score | Raptors 905 126, Westchester Knicks 124 | Box Score
Two Ways: Oshae Brissett (905), Paul Watson Jr. (905), Kadeem Allen (Knicks), Kenny Wooten (Knicks), Ignas Brazdeikis (Knicks – on assignment)
Inactive: Duane Notice (905), Sagaba Konate (905), E.C. Matthews (905), Ivan Rabb (Knicks), Josh Cunningham (Knicks), Nate Hickman (Knicks), V.J. King (Knicks)
If basketball were only three quarters, the Raptors 905 would be undefeated this season. The 905’s difficulty closing out games has cost them more than a few wins throughout 2019 and into 2020, and Wednesday’s game against Westchester was the same song and dance that we have become accustomed to from the Toronto-affiliate team. A 30-point performance from Paul Watson Jr. was not enough to ensure smooth sailing from the 905, as they saw their double-digit lead diminish, sending the game into triple overtime. A drop-pass from Tyler Ennis to Jawun Evans sealed the game with 16.9 seconds remaining in the third round of overtime, and Toronto managed to squeak by with a 126-124 win.
Three-Point Shooting: The 905 shot nearly 43% from 3 against Westchester, sinking 15 of their 35 attempts. Matt Morgan’s automatic catch-and-shoot ability allowed him 14 points, primarily from the corner and wing, and Michael Bethea Jr., the team’s new go-to from far, was careful with his shot selection, shooting only 3 from the field and making 2 of them. Quality shooting in the G League sometimes appears less important than quantity shooting due to players vying for the spotlight, but the Raptors 905 have struck a healthy balance between the number and accuracy of shots they take.
Multi-Dimensional Devin: 17 points is a pretty high number for most players, but Devin Robinson is not most players. On an off-night, Robinson totalled less than his usual 20-plus points, but was able to contribute in other ways that we haven’t seen from his as much up until this point. When the 905 were unable to finish around the rim, Robinson was waiting under the basket to rebound, and in typical Devin fashion, that often came in the form of crafty dunks. A first quarter block on Mississauga’s own Ignas Brazdiekis set the tone, letting Westchester know that as long as Devin was in the game, they were not going to get close to the basket. Playing much more aggressively than we’ve seen, Robinson was able to rip away a rebound, giving it to Michael Bethea Jr. who immediately sent it to Matt Morgan in the corner for 3. Devin wasn’t credited for this assist, but he finished with 3 assists and 9 rebounds.
Turnovers: The 905 had 12 turnovers in the first half, and the second half was no improvement, as they finished the game with 24 total turnovers. Of those 24, 19 came from the starters. This can probably be attributed to a much needed and well-deserved week away from basketball, and can easily be rectified in Thursday’s practice. Still, the Westchester Knicks only accumulated 10 total turnovers, allowing them to catch up to the 905 with every fast-break opportunity.
Points in the Paint: Both teams had difficulty finishing under the basket, with the 905 making just 28/49 paint attempts, and the Knicks making 27/48. The Raptors’ decision to play extremely small at times, with line-ups consisting of Tyler Ennis, Matt Morgan, Jawun Evans, Michael Bethea Jr., and Nicholas Baer, was beneficial both defensively and for shooting, but left the rim bare, particularly against the Knicks’ large bodies in Kadeem Allen and Ignas Brazdiekis.
Closing Out: The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead, but the Raptors 905 blew a 13-point lead in the final three minutes of regulation. This is a storyline that has become synonymous with the 905, as nearly every game comes right down to the wire, even when they had an easy path to a win for the entire game. Then again, this has often been the parent team’s modus operandi for countless seasons, so fans should be used to it by now. Sometimes you have to do things the hard way?
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