Final Score | Raptors 905 106 – Westchester Knicks 119 | Box Score
Two Ways: David Johnson (905)
On Assignment: Isaac Bonga (905), Miles McBride (Knicks)
Inactive: Kevon Harris (905), Romaro Gill (905), Justin Champagnie (905), Luka Samanic (Knicks), Aamir Simms (Knicks), Jericho Sims (Knicks), Brandon Williams (Knicks)
*Lets out long, exasperated sigh* It wouldn’t be the Raptors or Raptors-adjacent if they didn’t beat their biggest opponent one game, and then lose to a team they’ve already beaten twice this season the following game. After an important win over the Delaware Blue Coats on Saturday, the Raptors 905 fell to the Westchester Knicks Wednesday night. Well, “fell” is objective in this instance, as the Knicks had the 905 scrambling from the beginning tip. Westchester lead by as many as 28 points, and every time the Raptors would cut it to, or close to, single digits, the Knicks would go on another run. Outside shooting for Westchester was handled primarily by assignee Miles McBride, who appeared to hit or assist on a 3 every time he touched the ball, finishing with 23 points and 9 assists. On the inside it was former 905er, Dewan Hernandez who used his 6’11, 235 lb frame to muscle his way to the rim on every rebound or bounce pass. Despite out-rebounding the Knicks 50 to 40, the Raptors 905 just couldn’t find their rhythm, and it cost them a game that should have been an easy win.
No Quit: The first half belonged to Aaron Best, who played his last game with the 905 before joining Team Canada for the World Cup Qualifiers. 10 of his 16 points came in the first half alone, and while we don’t count “hockey assists” in basketball, he accounted for the majority of them that got the Raptors to the interior where they were the most successful. What Best did in the first half, Ashton Hagans continued in the second. If the word “quit” really exists, then Ashton Hagans has never heard it. Coming in off of the bench, Ashton Hagans showed more heart than the entirety of the 905 roster combined. He dove for every loose ball, put his body on the line nearly every defensive possession despite being visibly outsized by the Knicks, and kept his teammates accountable and engaged in a game that was very much over. He fought until the final possession, and finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Help: David Johnson has been in a shooting slump, to put it nicely. Though on occasion he tries to shoot through it, he conceded against the Knicks and found other ways to impact the game. Knowing his hand wasn’t hot, he chose to facilitate for his teammates and grab rebounds, all 5 of them on the defensive end, to help the 905 score vital transition baskets. He’ll be back though. Patrick Mutombo speaks so highly of David and his professionalism and potential that it is impossible to think that he won’t bounce back stronger.
The Vibes Are Off: Nobody on the 905 seemed to connect throughout the entirety of the game. It wasn’t that they appeared disengaged, but they missed several rotations or were out of position on both ends, allowing for 10 Knicks steals. A fair chunk of their 16 turnovers were simply them throwing the ball out of bounds on a miscommunication, while their 17 total personal fouls mainly occurred away from the ball and allowed the Knicks to reset and regroup.
Believe In Yourself: Reggie Perry is a gigantic human that could probably rip a phone book in half (especially these days; they’re like…really tiny), but when he is matched up against other sizeable, powerful, aggressive players, he shrinks himself. This was the case against Dewan Hernandez who outmuscled Perry nearly every time the two met in the paint. Reggie, I spent a whole season watching Dewan play for the 905 and I can promise you *in my most Masai Ujiri talking to Jonas Valanciunas about Andre Drummond voice* you are better than Hernandez.
The Raptors 905 return home to the Paramount Fine Foods Centre to take on the Wisconsin Herd on Thursday, February 17th at 7:30 pm.