Final Score: Raptors 905 127, G League Ignite 102 | Box Score
Raptors 905 defeated the G League Ignite 127-102 this afternoon, carrying over their now 9-game winning streak into the opening round of the single-elimination playoffs and bringing them within one game of playing for the G League title.
Henry Ellenson led all scorers with 35 points (12-for-18) to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists, while Matt Morgan scored 25 points on an almost-perfect 9-for-11 shooting night. Ellenson, Morgan, Nik Stauskas, and Alize Johnson would combine for 101 of the 127 points scored today for the 905.
“What we’ve been doing well is playing together,” Ellenson said after the game. “I thought we’re very versatile, with how many guys we have who can put the ball in the hole from all levels, especially the three.”
“Matt Morgan had a hell of a game,” he added. “He came out in the second half and kept getting to the rim, kept hitting threes. And Nik Stauskas was hitting threes, everyone, [Alize] had a great start. It was a lot of fun, I thought right from the jump we set the tone offensively.”
Jalen Green led the Ignite with 30 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, while Bobby Brown added 15 points. The victory tonight comes after the 905 lost 113-105 in its first matchup with the G League Ignite last month near the start of the season.
Raptors 905 kicked off the game with a well-rounded offensive attack, with the team assisting on 7 of the 13 baskets scored to give the 905 a 34-26 lead after the first quarter.
Ellenson drained a step-back 3-pointer off of a broken play early in the second, and a Stauskas layup on the next possession grew the 905’s lead to 11 points, forcing Brian Shaw to call a timeout.
After converting on a fast break layup himself, Daishen Nix found former Raptor Amir Johnson on another transition opportunity to lead the Ignite on a run of its own, cutting the score back down to 44-40 with 7:27 remaining in the half.
The 905 opened up an 18-point lead on back-to-back baskets by Johnson and Stauskas with two minutes left in the quarter, as Johnson would head into the locker room with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists, while combining with Stauskas and Ellenson for 50 of the 905’s 69 points in the first half.
Morgan continued his hot shooting from the previous game against Lakeland, as he reeled off five straight points for the 905 coming out of halftime to extend the lead to 74-56, forcing the Ignite to call timeout less than two minutes into the quarter.
Green would respond out of the quick break, taking Morgan one-one-one for an acrobatic and-1 finish, and then dropping in another tough basket on the following possession for two of his 15 points in the quarter.
Despite a Matt Mooney 3-pointer that gave the 905 an 81-61 lead at the 8:19 mark in the third, the Ignite wouldn’t fade away yet as Green would take Mooney one-on-one for another and-1 play to keep the Ignite within shouting distance, trailing now by only 14 points.
Tres Tinkle found an open lane on consecutive possessions as the quarter approached two minutes on the clock, pushing the 905 lead once again up to 20 points. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Green once again to end the 3rd quarter would cut the score to 98-85, including a 32-foot buzzer-beater over a contesting Payton II.
A Reggie Hearn layup plus continuation in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter would bring the Ignite within 12 points and momentarily neutralize momentum for both teams, but that would be as close as the Ignite would come to mounting a comeback.
With 9:36 remaining in the game, Morgan notched a new career-high after knocking down a triple for his 25th point, converting on a perfect 9 for 9 from field up to this point to give the 905 a 105-90 advantage.
With today’s victory, Raptors 905 will return to the floor tomorrow evening for the semi-finals against the winner of the Delaware Blue Coats vs Austin Spurs matchup tonight.
Raptors 905 Notes:
- Jalen Harris returned to the 905 lineup tonight but did not start for the team. Harris missed the last eight games with a dislocated finger, and scored only two points this afternoon on 1 of 6 shooting. In the 16 minutes Harris played, it looked like the 905 was trying to just give him a lot of looks to try and get him touches again, hoping he can catch his rhythm back again for the remainder of the playoffs
- Henry Ellenson was announced this morning as the G League Player of the Week. Ellenson came into tonight’s game as the 5th leading scorer (21.2) in the league and 2nd in 3-pointers made per game (3.5)
- Matt Morgan stayed in the starting lineup today despite the return of Jalen Harris, and it proved to be the right move. Morgan is coming off of a 24-point performance for the 905, and recorded a career-high 25 points today on 9 of 11 shooting from the field and 5 for 7 from the perimeter. The 6-foot-2 guard was the all-time leader scorer for Cornell and it looks like he is beginning to hit his stride in the G League for the 905 just in time for the playoffs
- Alize Johnson almost recorded a triple-double today with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Johnson really put on display in the first half just how versatile he can be with the ball in his hands. The third-year forward had a couple of nice plays in the first quarter showing off his ball-handling, explosiveness, and finishing around the rim. On one play, Johnson crossed over on a drive in transition for an off-foot, left-handed layup, and then another play we saw him posting up for a bucket like a veteran big man
- Jonathan Kuminga sat out his third straight game today with an injury, a definite bonus for the 905 as the lottery draft prospect scored 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Ignite in their first game against the 905 back on February 13.
- Daishen Nix was another draft prospect that performed well against the 905 last month, but was held to only 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists today. The 6-foot-5, 224-pound Nix is somewhat of an unconventional point guard, demonstrating he can play both in the post and on the perimeter. On one play he was sealing for position in the post for a back-to-the-basket finish, and the next possession we saw him knock down a 3-pointer. With 8:40 left in 2nd quarter, Nix took Mooney one-on-one on a fast-break for another tough finish. If Nix is able to transfer what he has done for the Ignite over to the NBA and find success with his style of play, he would be a really fun and unique player to watch
- Isaiah Todd, one of the Ignite’s other 5-star recruit prospect, scored 9 points this afternoon on 4 of 14 shooting, while recording 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Todd knocked down a game-winning buzzer-beater last week to beat the Canton Charge and help the Ignite stay in the playoff race
- Jarret Jack/Amir Johnson watch: When the first six points scored by the G League Ignite this afternoon were by the two former Raptors, I thought it was going to be some of kind of a cruel joke playing out. Nonetheless, it was great to see the two veterans wrap up their season guiding this young group of players, and also facing the 905 twice this season. Jack finished with 8 points and 4 assists, while Johnson had 11 points and 4 rebounds