905 drop both games in Mandalay Bay, Perry and Gravett impressive

The 905 drop both games in Mandalay Bay, but the 25-point target score in the fourth is entertaining to watch! Hopefully, it makes it out of Vegas.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The 905 dropped both games; 123-115 to the Texas Legends and 124-110 to the Mexico City Capitanes. In both games, the 905 waited until the fourth quarter to turn it on.

Against Texas, the 905 let things slip away in the third quarter. When Mavericks assignee and second-leading scorer in the G League, Jaden Hardy (29 PPG), had to exit the game, the 905 were trailing 82-75, but couldn’t take advantage of his absence. In the third, the 905 went 0-for-7 beyond the arc, and shot 7-for-22 (32%) from the field. They had six more field goal attempts than the Legends (16) in the third, but with a 13-point deficit going into the fourth, Champagnie’s 15 points still couldn’t get the 905 the W.

Against Mexico City, they faced a few former 905 faces: Alfonzo McKinnie and Bruno Caboclo.

The 905 lost the first three quarters by six, 10, and 12 points. They went into the fourth with a 28-point deficit. But similar to their first game, they needed their backs against the ropes to compete. The 905 got within eight points, 107-115, with the target score set at 124, and won the fourth, 39-25, but the initial gap was too wide to narrow.

While the Ls should stay in Vegas, the 25-point target score, slapped onto the leading team at the end of the third quarter, should be applied outside the G League Showcase Tournament. Incentivizing teams to compete for the first three quarters, so they’re not playing catch-up, and putting a premium on fourth quarter makes for entertaining basketball.

For teams like the 905, Texas, and Mexico City, who didn’t qualify for the tournament, these games allowed under-the-radar talent (a.k.a. non-two-way and non-NBA assignees) to showcase their skills for NBA front offices.

Player Notes

Reggie Perry‘s phone may start ringing soon. And expect Kenny Wooten or Aaron Epps to potentially fill that void. Perry had a stellar game against Texas, dropping 26 points on 11-for-18 shooting (2-for-3 from three-point range) with a game-high seven assists. He showed great patience and court awareness on both of these passes. In the second clip, he fakes the pass to Ron Harper in the post, dribbles and probes the court, and finds Darryl Morsell cutting to the basket.

Against Texas, he eurostepped his way to the bucket a few times, showing agility even for a 250-pound body. Broadcaster Jacob Tobey referred to Perry as a “dancing bear,” and at least on one play, Josh Nzeakor couldn’t keep up with Perry’s moves. The only knock on Perry’s game against Texas was racking up three fouls in third, but he kept his composure under Vegas’ bright lights.

Against Mexico City, Perry’s highlights showed he went right at a bigger and taller opponent: a 6’10”, 270-pound Jahlil Okafor. Perry likely had a chip on his shoulder competing against the former 2015 third overall pick, and dropped his trademark double-double (Perry had 14 and 11).

Hassani Gravett played well in limited minutes. He had 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting (2-for-2 from three) against Texas, and had 13 points in 19 minutes against Mexico City (shooting 3-for-4 from downtown). Forget what I said about Gravett not being a dead-eye three-point shooter; he’s been red-hot through two games shooting 5-for-6 from downtown, including hitting a tough step-back three like this.

Gravett continued to demonstrate that he’s a shot creator. He got a boomerang pass from Jeff Dowtin, attacked the basket, and finished a tough left-handed layup after Option A didn’t work out. In the second clip, Gravett chases his man after being beat off the sideline pass, and communicates to Kenny Wooten to help. The shot rims out, Gravett grabs the board, and takes it coast-to-coast for a beautiful eurostep, reverse lay-up.

Gravett also had a great defensive play here, walling off his man, forcing a tough mid-range shot.

The two-way players had a quiet first game, though Ron Harper tied for a team-high 24 points against Mexico City. Jeff Dowtin only had 11 points in the second game, but this deserves a second look.

Sterling Brown and Darryl Morsell are both big guards who can attack the basket, and we got a preview of them in Vegas. To see them and the rest of the 905, tune in on Thursday, December 29th at 8 pm for the first regular season game against the Iowa Wolves.

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