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Raptors 905 Fall to 1-1, Lose 138-126 to Erie Bayhawks

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Raptors 905
Malachi Flynn's 25 points couldn't propel the Raptors 905 past the Erie Bayhawks, losing 138-126 (photo by: Getty Images)

Final Score | Erie Bayhawks 138, Raptors 905 126 | Box Score 

Two-Ways: Jalen Harris (905), Will Magnay (Bayhawks), Cassius Winston (Bayhawks)

Jordan Bell set a screen on Raptors 905 point guard Malachi Flynn (2021 Toronto Raptors first-round pick), before accepting a lob-pass from Erie Bayhawks guard Jalen Adams, throwing down a slam-dunk.

It was the first possession of the game, foreshadowing how the rest of the contest unfolded.

The Raptors 905 dropped its first game of the season, 138-126, to the Bayhawks. While it was closer than the final score indicates, the 905’s interior presence and transition defense couldn’t keep up with the Bayhawks’ length and physicality.

“At some point, it’s no longer about the scheme,” said Raptors 905 head coach Patrick Mutombo. “It’s about deciding that they’re no longer scoring in the paint. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that today.”

The 905 gave up 84 points in the paint to the Bayhawks. Erie also recorded 32 points on the fast-break. Whenever the 905 brought the game within range of winning, the Bayhawks extended their lead, thanks to stretching the floor and getting out in transition to find open players. The lack of interior rebounding presence hurt the 905 in Friday’s game, giving the Bayhawks plenty of second-chance opportunities. The Bayhawks’ 16 offensive rebounds prevented the 905 from recording defensive stops, leading to baskets in the paint.

“You’re not going to live long if you give up 84 paint points,” Mutombo said. “I don’t care what league you’re playing in. If you have any bit of seriousness about this game, you don’t give up 84 paint points.”

Flynn led the Raptors 905 in scoring with 25 points, on 10-of-20 shooting from the field (50 percent). In the first half, Flynn showed his range with the three-point shot, while creating scoring opportunities for his teammates on the pick and roll. In the first quarter, Flynn showcased his speed, going from the top of the key into the paint, drawing contact, and forcing the “and one.”

But Mutombo didn’t mince his words when describing Flynn’s performance. He wants the former San Diego State guard to be a leader on the team in all aspects, not just racking up points.

“He can be much better,” Mutombo said. “Defensively, setting the pace, setting the tone. Picking guys up, turning guys, getting into the ball, defeating screens by himself. These are the little things that I think of as a leader. I know everybody gets caught up in the points but it’s not really my bag. I’m looking at the other stuff that you got to pay attention to see and that produce wins at a high level.”

Flynn appreciates Mutombo’s honesty when discussing his impact on the team.

“He expects a lot out of me,” Flynn said after the game. “That’s fine because I expect a lot out of myself. There’s a lot more work to do as a team.”

The 905 had another successful game from beyond the arc, posting a 43 percent from three as a team. Jalen Harris, one of the Raptors’ two-way players, connected from the top of the key in the second quarter, getting open as Canadian Nik Stauskas drew defenders towards him in the paint.

The 905 guard also wasn’t afraid to attack the rim, showcasing his side-to-side dribbles, blowing by the Bayhawks defender for the slam dunk late in the first half. Harris recorded 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.

There were glimpses of offensive stretches that the 905 want to produce consistently. Creating turnovers on defense and getting out on the fastbreak is a pillar of Mutombo’s strategy. Look no further than Gary Payton II coming off the bench, where he intercepted a pass on the defensive end, then used his legs to travel the length of the floor, forcing the “and one” on the lay-up.

The 905 showed how it can make the extra pass to find an open man on the wing. Late in the third quarter, Harris dribbled into the paint towards the basket, drawing defenders. Instead of attacking the rim, Harris kicked it out to Ellenson on the corner, who beat the Bayhawks defender to the rim, forcing the “and one.”

This epitomizes the “Just Win” mentality that Mutombo desires to instill in his players. On the defensive side, the same intensity didn’t apply for large stretches of the game, leading to the Bayhawks to victory.

“It’s a mindset, it’s a toughness thing, getting in there deciding,” said Mutombo on the team’s offensive rebounding issues. “At some point, the technique goes out the window. Just go and get it. And we don’t have enough of that right now. Something that we got to get better at.”

There’s no time to get acclimated in this year’s G League season. Already two games in, with 13 remaining, the 905 can’t ease into making adjustments. It starts tomorrow when the 905 takes on the inaugural G League Ignite Team.

Mutombo, however, isn’t concerned about his team’s ability to bounce back.

“Let’s come together tomorrow, we got to compete,” Mutombo said. “There’s no time for feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling fatigued or whatnot. It’s good too because it tests resolve, mental toughness, which is part of the development and is part of what we need to do to win. Because that’s our mantra, right? ‘Just Win.’ Just find a way. There’s no excuse, no explanations.”

Raptors 905 Notes: 

  • Yuta Watanabe, one of the Raptors 905’s two-way players, was inactive as he is still with the parent-club, Toronto Raptors, and is dealing with an ankle injury.
  • Alize Johnson added his second consecutive double-double for the Raptors 905. He recorded 23 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s game, on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
  • Breein Tyree continues to make an impact off the bench for the 905. He posted 18 points in Friday’s loss, along with four three-pointers.

Next Game: Saturday, February 13th vs. G League Ignite (7pm EST tip-off– ESPN+/TSN2)

 

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