Raptors 905 Hold On to Lead, Beat Long Island Nets 106 – 98

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Photo by Raptors 905 / @raptors905

Final Score | Raptors 905  106 – Long Island Nets  98 | Box Score

Two Ways: David Johnson (905)

On Assignment – Isaac Bonga (905)

Inactive: Ashton Hagans (905), Justin Champagnie (905)

A week between games gave the Raptors 905 some much needed rest before taking on the Long Island Nets. It also gave Josh Hall and Breein Tyree additional time to rehab their injuries, making them available for the first time this season. The 905 blew the doors off of the Nassau Coliseum in the first half, but squandered the lead during the third and fourth quarters. Still, they held on, defeating the Nets 106-98.

The Good:

It’s All Clicking: This was David Johnson’s best game as a member of the 905. While a 3 game sample size is still quite small, he is quickly finding his rhythm and his purpose, both off ball and on. Johnson flourished as a playmaker and facilitator. His quick reads, transition passes in particular, highlighted his ability to find the open man, giving up good shots to make great team shots.  On multiple possessions he scored directly off of the inbounds, showcasing his catch and shoot capabilities alongside his court vision. He appeared to read the Nets’ plays before they were even called or executed, adding 3 steals to his 22 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.

Team Basketball: David Johnson provided the playmaking and unselfish style of play for the starters that we have grown accustomed to seeing from both the Raptors and the 905. Off of the bench, Andrew Rowsey picked up right where he left off after being a DNP – Coach’s decision last week. Usually inserted into the 905’s giant lineup (Perry, Hall, Bonga, and Gill), Rowsey thrived in chaos, often stepping so close to the side that the Nets assumed he would be called for an out-of-bounds play, but instead finding one of his bigs and getting them the open look. Even when his teammates’ shots weren’t falling, Rowsey’s confidence in his fellow 905ers never faltered, and their confidence increased as a result.

Turnovers: The 905 came into this game leading the league in turnovers, totalling 26 in each of their last two games. They managed to cut that in half against Long Island, finishing with only 13. Coach Patrick Mutombo most likely drilled into his team’s heads that this many turnovers was unacceptable, as nearly every loose ball would wind up in the hands of the 905, often with the guys putting their bodies on the line to save it.

The Bad:

Big Bodies: What a luxury it is to have Isaac Bonga have an off night, yet still finish with 13 points and 14 rebounds after fouling out. It wasn’t that Bonga was bad, he just wasn’t as explosive as we had so quickly become accustomed to seeing him. He was 2 of 10 from 3 and 4 of 16 from the field before he, or the coaching staff, made the decision to stop trying to shoot through it and instead help elsewhere. Josh Hall and Romaro Gill played 14 and 15 minutes respectively, grabbing a total of 11 rebounds between the two of them. For Hall, whose most recent stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder and their G League squad, the OKC Blue, had him more involved offensively, it is a big adjustment to no longer be one of the primary options. Still Hall did not appear frustrated, and can be expected to ease into his role by the next game. Romaro Gill is 7’2, which means that point guards, in theory, should not be able to shoot over him, but it happened. Chalk it up to the fear of foul trouble as Bonga had already accumulated quite a few early on, but once Gill becomes less afraid of being aggressive, his game will improve significantly.

Complacency: The 905 entered the half with a 22 point lead. Their energy coming out in the second half could not have been colder. Their first basket didn’t come until the 7:51 mark, and they scored a total of 13 points in the entire third quarter. The energy picked up in the fourth quarter, but only because the situation became dire, as what was once a 22 point lead became a 5 point lead in a matter of seconds. The 905 and the Nets spent the final minutes of the fourth trading poorly selected 3 point shots and trying to regain or establish a lead. A large point margin only remains that way if you work to keep it there.

The Raptors 905 play the Long Island Nets again Saturday, November 20th at 7:00 p.m. The game can be streamed at https://gleague.nba.com/ for free.

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