Final Score: Raptors 905 115, Oklahoma City Blue 93 | Box Score
Two-Ways: Moses Brown (OKC)
Assignees: Aleksej Pokusevski (OKC)
Before heading into tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Blue, Raptors 905 qualified for a playoff spot in the G League Bubble earlier in the day when the G League Ignite lost 116-111 this afternoon to the Agua Caliente Clippers. This will mark the organization’s fourth consecutive and fourth overall playoff appearance since the club began competing in the 2015-16 season.
The 905, however, didn’t have much time to celebrate its playoff berth, as the team played its first game of a back-to-back tonight beginning with the Oklahoma City Blue, going on to win 115-93 for its sixth straight victory.
Henry Ellenson led all scorers with 21 points, while Alize Johnson notched his seventh double-double of the season with 19 points and 19 rebounds.
Despite getting off to a cold start shooting 2 for 12 including 1 for 9 from the perimeter, the 905 picked up the pace coming out of a timeout nearly six minutes into the game, going on a 25-10 run to close out the first quarter with a 32-16 lead.
Gary Payton II returned to the lineup today after missing the last couple of games due to injuries and immediately made his mark with two highlight reel-worthy dunks in the first half, spinning down the lane for one and catching a lob off the other.
A fast break layup at the 3:09 mark in the second quarter by Payton II gave the 905 a 20-point lead, its largest of the half. The 905 would head into the locker room with a 58-39 lead, with Alize Johnson already locking in a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, the fastest double-double recorded in 905 history (per Amy Audibert/Raptors 905).
A pair of back-to-back baskets by Payton II late in the third quarter kicked off an 11-0 run for the 905, and an 11-foot jumper by Johnson grew the lead to 87-52, the biggest of the game. Seven players would go on to score in double-digits for the 905, who now sit first place in the league with a 10-3 record.
The 905 now have two games remaining in the season, starting with a 3:30 PM tip-off tomorrow vs the Iowa Wolves, and an 11 AM matchup with the Lakeland Magic on Saturday. The single-elimination playoffs will begin on March 8th with the finals set for March 11th.
As reported by Blake Murphy, Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris, and Donta Hall will not be eligible to participate in the playoffs due to the G League bubble protocols requiring players to be on campus by today.
- Alize Johnson had another outstanding game, recording his fifth straight double-double and his seventh of the season. Johnson’s double-double in the first half was the fastest double-double in the 905 history (per Amy Audibert/905 broadcast)
- Gary Payton II returned to the lineup tonight after missing the last couple of games due to an injury. Payton II came off the bench and recorded 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, and had four rebounds and four assists.
- As noted above, Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris, and Donta Hall will not participate in the G League playoffs next week. The G League protocols had required that players be in the bubble by today in order to be eligible for the playoffs. While this is undoubtedly disappointing on many fronts (for the team, for the players’ experience, for 905 fans), the 905 proved tonight that they have a deep rotation and have the confidence offensively and defensively to move forward with the weapons that they have. This team still remains one of the most exciting and fun squads to watch in the bubble despite the absence of its two-ways and assignees.
OKC Blue Notes:
- Moses Brown was held by the 905 defense to just 8 points tonight on 3 of 9 shooting. The 7-foot-2 center was named G League Player of the Week last month (Feb 15 – 22). Brown played one season for UCLA before going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, and was on a two-way contract with Portland prior to this season