905 let early fourth quarter lead slip, score only 10 in final 10 minutes

The 905 maintained a lead through three quarters, but scoring only 17 in the final 12 minutes wasn't enough. They lost 129-119, leaving Long Island 0-2.

There’s a lot of negativity in Raptorsland right now, and I get that employing a “good vibes only” mentality neglects the potential that negativity plays in driving real change. When shortcomings stare us directly in our eyes, it’s best to confront it.

Compared to Monday night, the 905 got off to a slow start, trailing the Nets by 10 at the end of the first quarter. But the 905 built and maintained a lead, starting with Dalano’s dunk, with 3:58 left in the second frame. They built their lead to nine points going into halftime, and came out of the locker room strong. They “lived and maintained” their lead throughout the third quarter.

The closest the Nets got in the third was by six points when Alondes Williams hit a triple. But Banton’s finger roll and Harper’s reverse layup pushed it back up to 10.


The 905 had an answer for every Nets’ question in the third. The 905 had a 11-point lead going into the fourth. But that’s not a big lead with 12 minutes left, so what happened?

Kessler Edwards, who scored 21 of his career-high 36 points in the fourth quarter, hit a triple with 6:37 left in the game to reclaim the Nets’ lead. Until that point, the 905 maintained a lead for 21 minutes and 21 seconds (from the 3:58 mark where Banton dunked + 12 minutes in the third quarter + 5 minutes and 23 seconds had elapsed until Edwards’ three).

Banton hit a layup to briefly reclaim a one-point lead, hit a mid-range pull-up to trail by one, and Perry made a hook shot to inch within two points, but the Nets’ had all the momentum, which they didn’t have since the first half.

The 905 were still in it at the start of clutch time until Edwards made another three (he went 4-for-6 from downtown in the fourth quarter), and a major 905 defensive lapse quickly pushed the Nets’ lead to seven with 2:32 left.

But the tide started to turn in the Nets’ favour when Edwards hit his first triple of the fourth quarter, and then poked the ball away on the defensive end, pump faked Reggie Perry out, and flushed the ball with two hands for safety. It was an eight-point game with the tides turning.

In retrospect, Edwards’ scoring, three-point shooting, and the 905’s inability to score in the final 10 minutes and 12 seconds led to their demise. The 905 had scored seven points in the first minute and 58 seconds before Edwards hit his first three of the quarter. After that, the 905 only scored 10 points. While I try to be positive, that’s less than a point per minute, which is exactly what their parent team scored against Milwaukee in the first quarter last night.

So …. What went well?

1. Lee-to-Perry pick-and-rolls.

Saben Lee (27 points on 9-for-17 shooting and 10 dimes) and Reggie Perry (both team-highs with 28 points and 10 rebounds) had double-doubles. They are both elite offensively, and compliment each other, especially on the PnRs. Perry was also the only 905 player to have a positive plus/minus of 7, while the rest had donuts or sub-zeroes. See 3:32 and 4:10 below for their PnR actions.

2. Remained competitive against a better roster

The 905 faced a better roster with the addition of 6’9”, 265-pound Brooklyn assignee (their bulkiest player) Day’Ron Sharpe. While the Nets had two two-ways (I forgot Alondes Williams was a two-way player in my last recap) and two assignees, the 905 had one each in Harper and Banton. The 905 lost by 10 last night compared to 8 on Monday, but they had 10 less turnovers; 16 compared to Monday’s abysmal 26.

Scoring only 17 points and giving up six turnovers in the fourth after holding onto a lead may seem slightly better than Monday’s performance: scoring 37 in the first quarter, only 16 in the second, and calling in sick in the second half. But hey, they lost against a better team and played less sloppily.

What went bad?

A quick gander at the box score tells you the 905 shot horrendously from deep, and you get the general flow of the game from the recap above, but I wanted to fixate on a few key defensive lapses that contributed to the loss, late in the game.

Right before clutch time, the 905 gave up two 3s on two consecutive defensive plays. Darryl Morsell has already played six games in 2022-23, and the onus may not be entirely on him, but these are significant mistakes. On the first play (@ 4:55 below), Morsell stands in no-man’s land, standing too close to Harper and his man, and Alondes Williams was wide open in the weakside corner. Williams may have had shooter’s bounce, but a three-point threat should never be left this wiiide open. Then, on next defensive play, Morsell doesn’t react quickly enough to Edwards in the weakside corner … again! He should have recognized that if he was so close to Wooten, who came to help on Sharpe, Edwards was going to be left wide open on the perimeter.

During clutch time, Lee gets beat at the point of attack by a taller and longer David Duke (@ 5:30 below). Where was the help? It’s not helpful to point the finger at Banton or Perry (or both), but that gave the Nets an easy three-point lead. The worst defensive lapse came at the 5:54 mark of the highlight, where the game was still salvageable. The Nets were up five, and Sharpe grabbed the offensive board (who had three in the fourth, total 9 offensive boards). Perry stepped into the baseline, and didn’t rush to cover the paint. He simply moseyed his way back, and as he stood Sharpe whipped a pass inside to a cutting Edwards, and Lee had no chance of contesting it. Seven-point game.

Lastly, Morsell is new to the 905, so in fairness to him, he showed great decision-making on a specific offensive play below. He kept his dribble alive, probed for the best option, and didn’t force the pass into Lee. Lee flashed out to the perimeter, and once Kavion Pippen fully commits to trapping Morsell on the baseline, he dishes the ball out to Wooten for an easy flush. Great poise under defensive pressure.


The 905 return to Paramount for their first regular season home game on Monday, January 9th at 7:30 pm.

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