Raptors 905 Blow Out Westchester Knicks in Home Opener

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Courtesy: instagram/patrick_mutomboofficial

Final Score | Raptors 905  – Westchester Knicks  | Box Score

Two Ways: David Johnson (905)

Inactive: Josh Hall (905), Ashton Hagans (905), Breein Tyree (905), Justin Champagnie (905), Jericho Sims (Knicks), Luka Samnic (Knicks), Myle Powell (Knicks), Brandon Goodwin (Knicks)

It had been 608 days since the Raptors 905 were able to play on their home court. Two returning players, Breein Tyree and Kevon Harris had yet to play in Mississauga, despite playing for the 905 last year. As the pre-game clock started to wind down, seats began to fill. The kids, with their thunder sticks in all of their Raptors gear, waving and yelling the names of their favourite players. The season ticket holders, greeting all of the familiar faces, faces they haven’t seen since March 13th, 2020. Everything felt…normal. This was the first game for the 905 this season, and a rocky start defensively was reminiscent of the beginning of the 2019 season. The new 905 quickly figured it out though, handing the Westchester Knicks their third loss to start the season.

The Good:

Isaac Bonga – For someone who had only played 2.3 minutes with the parent squad, there was no rust in Bonga’s game. His first basket, a transition dunk from a Reggie Perry block, set the tone for the rest of the game offensively. He shot 50% from beyond the arch and finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. He understood that the G League assignment was not to go down and create his own highlight reel, but to get some burn and play team basketball, and he did that perfectly.

Andrew Rowsey – The punch that Rowsey provided off of the bench surprised even Head Coach Patrick Mutombo. “Did he really?” Mutombo exclaimed when I asked him if the 22 points Rowsey scored off the bench were the reason the 905 acquired him in the 5 team trade prior to the beginning of the season. On both ends of the floor, Rowsey was a menace. His stat line outside of points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal, is not a reflection of his impact or his contribution to the 905’s blow out win.

The Bench – Foul trouble had the 905 bench seeing more minutes than they would normally expect to, with Andrew Rowsey, and Jawun Evans both playing more minutes than some of the starters. Even Romaro Gill, who played the fewest amount of minutes, proved himself to be a shot blocking powerhouse, swatting away everything within the orbit of his 7’2 frame. Evans, whose 905 season ended earlier than everyone else’s due to injury, came out looking like a new and improved version of himself. His energy on both ends was enough to stop the Knicks in their tracks. His 3 steals to go along with a team high 7 assists and his 16 points, put the nail in the Westchester coffin.

The Bad:

Rocky Start – The defence, particularly the switch defence in the first quarter was…a work in progress. The Knicks were able to slip through the haphazardly set screens and easily shake off their defender. 6 of the 905’s 26 turnovers came in the first quarter alone.

Turnovers – Despite thoroughly outplaying the Knicks in nearly every aspect of the game, the 905 had 26 turnovers compared to Westchester’s 16. Most were simple miscommunication; throwing a pass too far ahead or getting lost on the baseline, but some were senseless like the over-and-back violation called early on. Expect this to tighten up tonight as the 905 once again play the Knicks, where Coach Mutombo will certainly make sure that a game with this many turnovers doesn’t happen again.

The 905 once again take on the Westchester Knicks tonight at 7:30 at Paramount Fine Foods Centre

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