Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Raptors 905 Fall to Wisconsin Herd Despite Tenacious Effort and Vintage Jodie Meeks

It was the chippiest game we've seen this season from the 905.

Final Score | Raptors 905  124 –  Wisconsin Herd 133 | Box Score

Two Ways: David Johnson (905)

Inactive: Kevon Harris (905), Romaro Gill (905), Justin Champagnie (905), Justin Smith (905), Jaylen Bland (Herd), Lindell Wigginton (Herd), Sandro Mamukelashvili (Herd) Daxter Miles Jr. (Herd)

It was the chippiest game we’ve seen this season from the 905, with the first of four technical fouls called at the 5:27 mark of the second period on Patrick Mutombo, who was irate with the officiating and the lack of whistle on a hard foul on Reggie Perry specifically. Individually, the Raptors 905 roster hold more talent, but the Wisconsin Herd have the grittiest, most tenacious roster in the league this year. They received techs for taunting (flexing on Reggie Perry after a dunk), fighting (going after Aaron Best after a common foul), and for telling Jodie Meeks (who was sitting on the bench) to “shut the **** up” after a made free-throw. The Herd were constantly in the ears of the 905 (they should seriously consider changing their name to the Wisconsin Mosquitoes), or breathing down their necks. Several words were exchanged between Rayjon Tucker, Jalen Lecque, Tiwian Kendley, Breein Tyree, Aaron Best, Josh Hall, and Jodie Meeks, particularly in the second half, and despite being able to cut the tension with a knife, the 905 never lost their cool. a 25 point lead was cut down to just 5, but the bruised and banged up 905 were unable to close the gap, losing their final game before the All Star Break.

The Good:

Brotherhood: With Aaron Best heading to the Dominican Republic to join Team Canada, Coach Patrick Mutombo says that the leadership and professionalism brought by Best would now be filled “by committee” and even though Best had yet to leave, it was obvious that the Aaron Best sized hole in the 905 would be filled without worry.

Isaac Bonga, who is technically not even a part of the team and is also on All Star Break, made the trip in a snowstorm down to Mississauga to be with the 905. He sat on the bench as any non-dressed player would, and was up in the huddle during every timeout. I asked Patrick Mutombo what seeing this means to him as a coach and he said he wasn’t surprised at all that Isaac was there, because that’s just the kind of person he is. The energy from Bonga and the rest of the bench was the fuel needed to keep the 905’s spirits up during a game that often felt deflating. When Reggie Perry threw a beautiful pass to the corner that resulted in a missed three, you could feel that he felt the miss was his fault. Assistant Coach Chris Thomas could feel it as well, and he could be heard encouraging Reggie from the bench, letting him know that his pass was perfect and that it was okay. The Raptors 905 have so many different personalities that need to be managed and coached in different ways, and the coaching staff, in their respective approaches, are just as diverse. What a luxury to have such a variety of coaches when starting your professional career.

The love and reassurance that Perry received from Coach Thomas was then paid forward from Reggie to his teammates, as Perry, who is his own biggest critic, was hustling back on every possession, yelling to his teammates not to give up, and not allowing his team even for a second to get discouraged. This was the same energy we saw from Ashton Hagans and Aaron Best in the game just 24 hours earlier, and in both games their encouragement and vocal leadership was what kept the game attainable.

Though not the flashiest game from Josh Hall, it was his most organic game of the season. He didn’t force shots or possessions and allowed the game to come to him. Letting himself feel the flow of the game gave him the edge over his opponents and sent him to the line on 4 separate occasions when he was fouled on the second-chance attempt. When Breein Tyree went down with a hit to the face and the play wasn’t stopped, it was Hall who committed his fifth personal foul in order to stop the game and allow Tyree to get checked out. Every professional basketball player wants to be on the floor as much as possible, and for a player whose minutes have been sparse all season to voluntarily foul in order to help his hurt teammate, knowing it would be his fifth personal, is the sign of an incredible teammate.

Cold Tub Time Machine: There was a point in this game where Jodie Meeks must have disappeared back to 2014 or even to his days at Kentucky because the show that the 34 year old put on was like watching a career highlight reel, only they had somehow changed the jersey and the team. 15 of his 31 points came from beyond the arch, and putting his body on the line against a bunch of players in their early twenties allowed him to get to the line on 7 different occasions. Jodie Meeks is the perfect example of what a player using the G League to try and get back to the NBA should do. He is also the perfect example of why this break is so needed because oh boy is he going to be sore for the next few days.

The Bad:

Fatigue: These guys need a break, especially after piling a dozen men over 6 ft tall into a bus for 9 hours and driving from Delaware to Mississauga for a back-to-back game. Enjoy your break, boys. You sure deserve it.