Final Score | Raptors 905 110- Long Island Nets 114 | Box Score
Two Ways: David Johnson (905), Kessler Edwards (Nets)
On Assignment – Isaac Bonga (905), Day’Ron Sharpe (Nets), Cam Thomas (Nets)
Inactive: Ashton Hagans (905), Justin Champagnie (905), Josh Gray (Nets)
One of the first things Head Coach Patrick Mutombo said about the new G League format is that it is extremely difficult to beat the same team twice in a row, and the Raptors 905’s loss to the Long Island Nets on the second night of a back to back proved just that. The Nets added plenty of new faces, with only RaiQuan Gray returning to the starting lineup. The departure of Josh Gray to join Team USA ahead of FIBA qualifiers allowed for Brooklyn to send down two-way forward Kessler Edwards, as well as Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas on assignment. The choice would prove fruitful for the Nets, and for Thomas, whose 46 points kept the 905 scratching to maintain a lead, eventually falling 114-110.
Finding Footing: Josh Hall did not have the best game on Friday night, but managed to turn it around just 24 hours later, totalling 8 points in just 9 minutes. He picked off the bounce pass from Long Island for a transition dunk, giving the 905 the lead halfway through the first quarter. Unfortunately for Hall, and for the 905, he left early due to knee soreness and the energy he provided off of the bench was sorely missed for the remainder of the game. Fortunately for Hall and for the 905, the week off between mini-series during the first half of the season allows for extended rehabilitation time, so it is likely Hall will be able to return next week. Obadiah Noel has been great defensively throughout all 4 games, but is coming into his own on offence. Of all the 905 players to see the floor tonight, Noel had the best shot selection. He was 5 for 12 from the field, with 3 assists and 6 rebounds, often taking on the role of shot creator rather than producer.
Bounce Back: Romaro Gill deserves credit for bouncing back so quickly after a less than stellar game the night before. He did a little bit of everything tonight, grabbing 5 of the 905’s 32 rebounds on the defensive end to accompany his 2 blocked shots and 100% shooting from the field. More importantly, he looked spry, and didn’t shy away from aggressive play. He guarded closely and set hard screens while moving quicker than the game prior. He is the perfect player to develop in the 905 system because he seems genuine in his desire to learn and grow.
The Vets: As far as veteran leadership goes, this was the poorest display we have seen from both Andrew Rowsey and Jawun Evans. Not because of their attitude, or even their decision making, but because they leaned a little too hard into the role of veteran floor general, often choosing to facilitate instead of actually create. Simple mistakes from Rowsey allowed the Nets to seal the game after a turnover and a foul on a 3 point play. For Evans, it was impossible to get to the rim with the Nets repeatedly stuffing the paint with their length, and the whistle never blowing in his favour. The bright side is that both of these guys are crafty and talented enough to adjust for the next game, where we are guaranteed to see a better showing from both of them.
Transition Baskets: The Nets had 11 steals this game, with almost every single one ending in a basket. Their 40 defensive rebounds told the same story. It could be the fresh legs from the new faces, but they were faster, more aggressive, and more eager to gobble up every loose ball.
The Raptors 905 will head to Delaware next to take on the Blue Coats for another back-to-back series on November 27th and 28th.