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Raptors 905 Hang On to Defeat Agua Caliente Clippers 121-115

9 mins read
Gary Payton II
Gary Payton II's monstrous slam dunk late in the game was a signature highlight in the Raptors 905's 121-115 win over the Agua Caliente Clippers (photo by: Getty Images)

Final Score: Agua Caliente Clippers 115, Raptors 905 121 | Box Score

Two Ways: Jalen Harris (905)

Patrick Mutombo didn’t hide from answering the type of game he wanted for his Raptors 905 team against the Agua Caliente Clippers.

 

“I wanted a blowout,” Mutombo said with a smile after the game. 

 

Right from tip-off, the 905 controlled the pace, tempo, and scoring of the game. They led by as much as 24 points in the second half,

 

But the G League is a game of runs and where no lead is safe. Case and point, the Clippers came back, bringing the deficit to just three points. 

 

The 905 held on to defeat the Clippers 121-115, improving to 3-2 on their G League Bubble season. While Mutombo’s plans for a blowout didn’t occur, he preached the importance of ‘learning’ after these close games. 

 

“Now we got to show our guys and just teach them,” Mutombo said. “Hey, this is why we talk about taking good shots, especially when you’re leading. Don’t give anybody hope.”

***

 

One of these teachable moments came near the end of the game. With the 905 up by three, rookie guard Malachi Flynn took it up the floor, with two minutes left in the game. Four seconds into the possession, Flynn launched a deep three, which went in.

 

A low percentage shot that went in, Mutombo cited the potential gained from the play. However, it’s a learning opportunity for the young player. 

 

“I didn’t think it was a good shot, but I do think that now it’s great because now we have something to teach him with,” Mutombo said. “We sort of have evidence, we’re able to take that game situation and teach him and (he can) have it with him hopefully for the rest of his life. I didn’t think it was the shot we needed, but he made it. It’s a good confidence builder for him. That’s why he’s here. Now it’s on us to use that as a teachable moment.”

***

 

Flynn wanted to inject confidence into the 905 offense, desperately looking for a spark with the Clippers coming on. 

 

“They gave me some room and it was time for a bucket,” Flynn said. “We needed a bucket and I thought I had a good look.”

 

Flynn recorded his second consecutive 20+ point game, putting up 25, along with six assists, two rebounds, on 56 percent shooting from the field. He showcased his vision of the court, passing to a wide-open Jalen Harris, who cut to the basket for the alley-oop dunk. 

 

Flynn is continuing to improve on the defensive side of the ball, an area Coach Mutombo is focusing on with the Raptor guard. Not only is he in the right spot but he is seeing the gap to intercept passes, as he did in the first half, forcing the turnover to find Matt Mooney in transition, who found Harris for another alley-oop. 

***

 

Henry Ellenson led the scoring for the 905 against the Clippers, recording 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. His size allows him to move into the paint with ease, something the 905 looked to accomplish against the Clippers. Here, Mooney finds Ellenson wide-open, cutting from the weak side to make the easy layup:

 

 

 One of the areas Ellenson is looking to improve on is his defense if he’s looking to make the jump to an NBA team. 

 

“Defensively, locking in, being able to talk the whole possession, being in the right spots,” Ellenson said. “Coach has been hard on me, being able to help out guys. It’s my focus going into every game.”

 

The 905 bench continues to make an impact, utilizing their energy and hustle on both ends of the floor. 2019 Raptors draft pick Dewan Hernandez is looking to make his mark on the 905 this year, after dealing with a right ankle injury last season. 

 

Hernandez sank a deep three while getting wide-open inside for easy baskets. He acted as the second line of defense for the 905, using his verticality to challenge shots and to create offense from defense. It’s this type of consistent energy that Mutombo is looking for from his big man. 

 

“I love his energy,” Mutombo said. “He played hard. He played so hard he asked to be taken out. That’s a selfless act. I’m very happy and proud of him for doing that because he gave us everything he had.”

Raptors 905 Notes: 

 

– Gary Payton II continues to dazzle for the 905. Coming off the bench, Payton II put up 14 points, including a monstrous left-handed slam dunk that injected energy into the 905 offense in the fourth quarter. Payton II impacted the defensive end, forcing turnovers in the form of two steals. 

 

– Canadian Nik Stauskas went 0-for-7 from the field in Wednesday’s game. Mutombo isn’t too concerned, as he admired Stauskas’ compete for level, and knows the shots will eventually fall: 

 

“He played hard, he competed, Mutombo said. “I love how he got out to contest shots that seemed uncontestable. His second effort was really good. And then defensively he was in his gaps. He was great at guarding the ball when his man didn’t have it. And his shots will fall, he’s one of the best shooters in the world. I’m not worried about that but I’m proud of the way he competed.”

 

– After Monday’s win against the Santa Cruz Warriors, Flynn discussed the importance of his teammates shooting the basketball. I asked Mutombo before the 905’s game on Wednesday about Flynn’s role in encouraging teammates to shoot more. Mutombo said it goes back to the concept of ‘selflessness’ that he’s trying to promote throughout the team: 

 

“To win, you can’t do it alone so you need your teammates to be the best version of themselves and that’s encouraging shooters to shoot, creating for each other, getting into the paint, into kick-outs. If you have a good shot, let it rip. I think it’s important for him as a leader, an aspiring leader, to understand that and kind of get his practices here. Because with the big club, he probably doesn’t have the same privilege to use his voice to that extent. So, this is good practice for him and I’m delighted that he’s doing that.”

 

 

– A fun moment here for Raptors 905 assistant coach and Kitchener, Ontario native John Bennett, who joined Mutombo’s staff in December: 

 

 

Next Game: Thursday, February 18th vs. Salt Lake City Stars (11:30 AM EST)  

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