Final Score | Raptors 905 117, Delaware Blue Coats 98 | Box Score
Two Ways: Paul Watson Jr. (905), Oshae Brissett (905), Marial Shayok (Blue Coats)
Inactive: Jawun Evans (905), Devin Robinson (905), Nicholas Baer (905), Christ Koumadje (Blue Coats), Justin Robinson (Blue Coats)
The Raptors 905 returned home for a three-game home stand beginning with a game against the Delaware Blue Coats. This would be the third game against the Philadelphia 76ers G-League affiliate, and would give the 905 their first win against them. An 11th hour line-up change for Delaware would remove two of Delaware’s top scorers, Christ Koumadje (11.3 ppg), and Justin Robinson (14.6 ppg) from the game altogether, giving the 905 only minutes to recalibrate their game strategy with the absence of two of Delaware’s key pieces. Though it wasn’t the game the 905 expected to play, they proved victorious, holding the 9th best scoring team in the league to just 98 points, 18 and a half points fewer than their average of 116.4 per game.
Peaked? I Haven’t Even Begun to Peak: Saying Sagaba Konate got off to a rough start with the 905 would be an understatement. Fracturing his metatarsal during training camp had Konate sidelined until January, and after his return his minutes were a team low 7.2 per game, often the result of near immediate foul trouble and turnovers. Saturday’s matinee match-up was a culmination of all of the work that the 250 lb forward has been putting in behind the scenes, matching his career high with 14 points, and breaking his rebounding record with 8. It wasn’t just his numbers that awarded Konate his best game as a Raptor, but the impact he had on the floor in just under 12 minutes. Checking in for the beginning of the second half, Sagaba’s strength on the interior immediately increased the 905’s ability to finish at the rim, with 22 of Toronto’s 36 second-half points coming from inside the paint. Offensively, Konate was pulling spring rabbits out of his hat that would make even the most seasoned reporter gasp. A pass behind the back of opposing player, Dennis Clifford, to Matt Morgan for a pirouette-like layup, followed by a nothing-but-net three point shot from the 22 feet out, was just a glimpse of what Sagaba has to offer for the 905 as they ramp up for a playoff run. Konate is listed at 6’8, but having stood beside him, I can confirm that his listed height is more than a few inches shorter than his actual height. This has been a hurdle for the 905, as his frame, similar to that of a Mack truck, is often a contributing factor in Toronto, and Konate’s personal, foul troubles. Sagaba kept himself to just 2 personal fouls over a nearly 12 minute span, as he learns how to maneuver his body with a quickness and agility that will keep him from sending the opposition to the free throw line.
Fluidity: One of the most glaringly obvious mirrors between the Raptors and the Raptors 905 is their ability to play through the adversity of poor shooting nights. Henry Ellenson, the team’s top scorer, has been in a shooting slump for most of March. His 23 point per game average was hardly believable to someone watching him for the first time on Saturday, where he was just 2 of 10 from the field, and 2 of 3 from the free throw line. Normally, if your most efficient scorer has been anything but, it would directly effect the entire team’s scoring potential. Henry’s court vision and patience through games where his shooting just isn’t happening allows him to set his teammates up to find success where he hasn’t. Ellenson finished with 14 total rebounds, 13 of which came on the defensive end. While not as overt as Ellenson’s, Tyler Ennis’ shooting was less than we have come to expect as well. Still, he finished with 8 assists and 2 blocks, the last of which he swatted away on the final possession of the game.
Don’t Get Caught Slippin’: Christ Koumadje is 5th in the league in rebounding, averaging almost 10 rebounds per game, and leads the entire league with 4 blocks per game. Just because he is inactive, does not mean that the 905 can lay low in the paint and expect to grab the rebound. The Blue Coats are still a massive team, and the second best rebounding team in the entire G-League, and while the 905 only allowed 41 rebounds, the number should have been a lot lower without Koumadje.
Hey you there! Raptors Republic is hooking you up with a sweet discount code for Raptors 905 tickets. Follow this link and use the code RR905. https://bit.ly/2pTZgn6 . The 905’s next home game is Monday, March 9th.