Reggie Perry calls out the blog boys after Raptors 905 lose sixth straight

Awkward times in the media room.

Final Score |  Greensboro Swarm 116 – Raptors 905  101  | Box Score

Two Ways: Jeff Dowtin Jr., Ron Harper Jr. (905)

On Assignment: Justin Champagnie (905)

“Can y’all do me a favour?” Raptors 905 forward Reggie Perry asked as he sat down at his post game media conference following his team’s sixth straight defeat. The eight reporters in the bowels of Scotiabank Arena were immediately intrigued, if not on edge.

“Before y’all ask your questions say y’all name and who y’all work for, because I be reading some of y’all’s stuff and some of the stuff is inaccurate. So I need to know how to answer your questions. Thank you.” 

Apparently the culprit wasn’t present at Monday’s game, but the atmosphere after a double digit home loss to drop the 905’s record to 4-7 was tense. Perry had another awesome statistical game – 28 points off 9-for-16 from the field, seven rebounds, six assists (and four turnovers). He’s averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds over his last four games, including a franchise-record 24 boards last Thursday against the Delaware Blue Coats. But the team isn’t just losing, they’re consistently falling behind by double digits early and having to claw back to have a chance at the end of games. The stats aren’t empty, but they can’t feel fulfilling if the team doesn’t prevail.

“When you talk about sample size a lot of it is results based, but process-based – five games is a lot,” Raptors 905 Head Coach Eric Khoury said before his team extended the losing streak one game further. “Some of the results stuff, yeah, you would hope it would go the other way, but a lot of the process-mistakes we’re making is not a small sample anymore.”

The Raptors 905 have made a habit of conceding 70 points in the first half, including a handful of uncontested layups off MADE BASKETS of their own. Today it was the offence in an apparent malaise, going 43% from the field and 27% (9-33) from beyond the arc. Much of the team’s off-ball actions and cuts in the half court felt like a team going through the motions, with little verve or enthusiasm. Any mini-run was also quickly thwarted by an ill-timed turnover, or a swarm of Swarm threes. The 905 also committed 21 turnovers to only 22 total assists.

“It was all on us,” Raptors two-way guard Jeff Dowtin Jr. said. “Starting off slow. Energy, effort, aggressiveness. We just gotta come out (in the) first quarter flying. A lot more energy. Just playing together.” 

“I don’t think there was anything too specific (that Greensboro did),” Khoury quietly lamented. “They played well, don’t get me wrong. I think it was probably more about us than it was about them, because, (for) every opponent (it) seems to be more about us than them.” 

The 905 get a chance to split their back-to-back with Greensboro tonight.

Player evals

Before diving into the NBA-aspirant player breakdowns, it ought to be prefaced that while the team had decent defensive spurts, no one could contain dribble penetration. Defence at the point of attack will be critical for any NBA callup, so everyone needs to work on that.

Justin Champagnie – 10 points (4-12 FG), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, minus-32

In just his third game of the season, Champagnie is still searching for his rhythm coming off a back injury. Champagnie was blocked at the rim early in the first quarter, and started the second half with a missed forced layup and fading three from the corner. Champagnie’s best moments came when he was playing in his Parent Raptors role – grabbing offensive rebounds, of which he had four, and tipping loose balls to keep possessions alive. Also encouraging – Champagnie seems eminently coachable. Much like he did last season with former head coach Patrick Mutombo, Champagnie constantly checks in with the coaches during breaks in play for instructions, and the studious head nods of understanding are cool to see.

“He’s not in rhythm yet,” Coach Khoury said before the game. “He’d be the first to say he’s pressing a bit right now. Hopefully he goes back to how he was playing before.” 

Champagnie will stick with the 905 for tonight’s rematch against the Swarm.

Jeff Dowtin Jr. – 20 points (7-11 FG), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers

At this point Dowtin can teach a course in G League On Ball Mastery.

Dowtin made a short jumper, a physical drive and finish, slipped a pick and roll for a layup, and drove and kicked from under the basket to the “45” for an open three, all in the first quarter. Dowtin’s skill lies in his patience and ability to probe when he gets to the second level.

But Khoury wants more.

“Jeff needs to not only just be a scorer. He needs to show the Raptors that he can be a playmaker as well and knock down shots,” Khoury said. “He doesn’t need the ball in his hands all the time. He needs to be somebody when the ball swings to him he’ll knock down a shot, and then he creates an advantage. Sure he can go turn into a bucket in this league, but it’s probably more important for his development to then create a bucket for someone else.”

Ron Harper Jr. – 20 points (6-13 FG, 3-8 3FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Harper is having an outstanding G League season as he awaits his chance with the big club. He’s averaging 19.8 points on 49-percent shooting and his 3-point percentage has crept up to 32.7. Yesterday Harper showed exemplary patience, only putting up three shots in the first half as the team floundered. Harper broke out late in the third quarter – the only stage where the game started to tilt in the 905’s favour – scoring a layup, a three, and a tip-dunk to close an 11-point frame. The form is a little funky, but three-for-eight from beyond the arc is encouraging. Harper’s brute strength is also a (brute) strength — once he gets to the rim he finishes well through contact, which is particularly valuable for someone you wouldn’t characterize as a pure athlete.

Reggie Perry – 28 points (9-16 FG, 2-7 3FG), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 turnovers

Perry’s offence is the G League’s version of Joel Embiid. He’s a monster physically — not quite in height at 6-foot-8, but at 250 pounds of stone he is immovable. His finishing in the paint is elite. He’s the hub when he catches just above the nail, counted on to read and react from the middle of the floor, although like Embiid he averages over four turnovers. He’s increased his efficiency of late — 48 percent over his last four games. And like Embiid the defence takes a sigh of relief when he puts up a three. Perry is shooting 24 percent from deep on 4.5 attempts a game. Embiid – 28 percent on 3.4 attempts. Perry went two-for-seven from beyond the arc on Monday, but I could only recall one attempt that you could characterize as forced.

“He’s playing the right way,” Khoury said pregame, referring to Perry’s three games prior to Monday. “He’s taking what the defence is giving him. His shot selection has been awesome. He’s been a beast on the glass. I wouldn’t change anything with Reg, he’s been great.” 

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