Banton/Champagnie Boost Insufficient in Raptors 905 loss to Capital City

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Final Score: Capital City Go-Go 128, Raptors 905 109,  | Box Score

Two-Ways: Justin Champagnie, David Johnson (905), Joel Ayayi, Cassius Winston (Go-Go)

On Assignment: Dalano Banton (905), Isaiah Todd (Go-Go)

“Nobody is enjoying this losing business.”

Riding a three-game losing streak coming into Saturday’s game, Raptors 905 Head Coach Patrick Mutombo was hopeful a productive week of practice, along with the insertion of assignee Dalano Banton and two-way Justin Champagnie, would work in his team’s favour come tipoff. Instead, the 905 gave up 40 points in the first quarter, and allowed the Go-Go to shoot 56.2% from the field and 46.7% from beyond the arc, the bulk those attempts coming from the desirous short corner.

“We looked out of sorts,” Mutombo said post game. “There was not a lot of harmony in our defence. We were hugged up to non-shooters. We allowed penetration. For a team that takes pride in guarding the ball, it was disappointing.”

Champagnie had his best game as a pro: 34 points on 13-for-21 from the field, nine rebounds, and three steals. Banton scored 23 but needed 25 shots to get there. He also had five assists and five turnovers. The Go-Go had seven players score in double figures, with assignee Isaiah Todd scoring a team-high 24.

Raptors 905 Notes

  • Banton is at his best when he’s pushing the pace and distributing. On Saturday the Go-Go turned Banton into an inefficient, pound-the-rock point forward. Banton had a few crafty probing layups, a soft fadeaway in the lane, and two pretty passes to Reggie Perry for layups, but Capital City’s transition and on-ball defence had Banton dribbling a ton in search of openings for himself and his teammates.
  • Champagnie was the reason the 905 were only down six at half time, as he shot 7-for-11 from the field, with six of those buckets coming in the paint. At 6’6, Champagnie currently profiles as an undersized, high-skill energy guy: impeccable rebounding, with a surprising burst and ability to finish around the rim. That athleticism was most boldly shown when he got a steal in Capital City’s backcourt, took one dribble, then dunked on an unwitting Go-Go-ite.
  • I’m not sure what to glean from this, but playing just his second game with the 905, I liked how Champagnie was constantly checking in with Coach Mutombo between whistles. It shows humility and a desire to assimilate into an environment many players with two-way status may not be so keen on doing. Perhaps this was a factor is his stellar stat line.
  • It’s easy to see why Reggie Perry got 26 games of NBA experience with the Brooklyn Nets last season. At 6’8, 250 pounds, he’s immovable in the paint (18 rebounds, seven offensive), affecting shots at the rim on defence. Offensively, on Saturday, Perry showed some super-soft hands in the pick and roll with Banton along with a crisp faceup jumper. The issue I see through seven games is when Perry catches in one of his favourite spots, it often appears that he’s made up his mind to shoot before assessing what the defence has given him. On Saturday Perry shot 8-for-20 with three turnovers, many of those miscues foreseeable as he entered traffic in the paint without looking up for a good escape-pass. Coach Mutombo mentioned pregame how he’s seen players hang their heads too many times after mistakes during play. Perry does have a tendency to do that, which Mutombo will surely look to correct.
  • “Mental toughness is also about how you react to errors and mistakes,” Mutombo said. “The mentally tough ones are those who can bounce back and snap out of it, on to the next play. It’s also a maturity thing. I think Reggie’s training. He’s doing better. It’s something we’re still working on, but he’s giving effort. He’s bought into what we are doing and he wants to do the right thing. And some of those habits are hard to kick, and I think he’s fighting a good fight. He’s getting better every game.”

The 905 (3-4) host Capital City (6-3) again on Monday at 11am, but this one will be played at Scotiabank Arena.

Shameless Promotional Note

Please check out the Rapcast podcast feed for my series of interviews with Raptors 905 personnel, aptly titled “The Interview.” Also download “Westside Stories: A G League Podcast” hosted by the irreverent Kelsea O’Brien and former 905er Duane Notice.

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