Simpson scores a dagger three to break the 905’s heart.

The team played well enough to win but the heroics of Zavier Simpson would be their undoing.

The Raptors 905 lost a heartbreaker to the Heartland Magic 112-111, Saturday afternoon at the Paramount Fine Foods Stadium in Mississauga. The loss may have been the final nail in the coffin for the team’s hopes of making a playoff push. 

Game Recap:

After controlling the game for most of the second half, the 905 saw their 11-point lead in the 4th quarter dwindle to just five with three minutes and twenty-nine seconds to play. 

The 905 then went on a three-minute scoring drought, failing to score on their next four possessions and found themselves tied at 107-107. Ryan Hawkins ended the slide with a put-back off a Ron Harper Jr. miss.

At this point Magic’s guard, Zavier Simpson decided to put his superman cape on and take the game over. Simpson had been the best player on the court in the Magic’s win over the 905 on Thursday. According to 905 starter Sterling Brown, shutting down Simpson was a point of emphasis for the team and the game plan had been effective up till that point. Simpson, headed into those final 32 seconds sporting a +/- of -22.

But controlling a player of Simpson’s quality for a full game is a tough task. After having just scored from three to tie the game at 107, Simpson took the ball off the ensuing time-out and drove to his right for a nifty floater to tie the game once again. 26.5 seconds remained on the clock. 

Sterling Brown, not to be outdone, on the very next play barreled his way to the basket and put up a floater of his own over two Magic players, for what seemed at the time to be a game-winning basket.

After calling a time-out the Magic put their faith once again in the capable hands of Mr. Simpson. Simpson took the hand-off at the perimeter but found himself with two 905 defenders in close proximity. He nevertheless took an awkward, looking off-balance three and somehow buried a well-contested tough shot to put his team up by 1 with a mere six-tenths of a second remaining. The Magic’s first lead since the 11:24 mark of the third quarter.

But the game wasn’t over. Coach Eric Khoury drew up a great play in the huddle. Ron Harper Jr. threw a lob pass to the basket to a cutting Kylor Kelley who unfortunately just failed to convert at the rim.

It was an agonizing loss for the 905 who, thanks to the additions of Harper Jr. and David Johnson, were the better team for most of this game. The Mississauga team ended the game with 25 more shot attempts than the Magic. Poor three-point shooting (12-37) and awful touch from the free-throw line (4-9) stood out in the one-point loss. 

Key player performances:

Sterling Brown was outstanding for the home team with a career-high 27 points on 11-18 shooting, five of 10 from three, along with 4 rebounds and six assists. He showed touch from the perimeter and the ability to force his way to the hoop. Something that has been missing from the Raptors team since the Norman Powell trade. Coach Eric Khoury said that he was especially impressed by Brown’s defence and his five steals. Sterling is forcing himself into the conversation for a call-up.

Jeff Dowtin had a sub-par game playing against his former team and coach. He shot just two-of-nine from the field and failed to convert on both of his three-pointers. He did manage a team-high seven assists.

A solid outing for Weiskamp saw him score 13 points on five-of-eight from the field and three-of-five from three-point range.

David Johnson brought a lot of energy to the second unit and was very effective in limited minutes.

The Round-up

Coach Khoury was proud of his team’s performance for the most part. He was happy with his team’s execution of the game plan and their containment of Simpson, giving credit to the Magic’s guard for making some really tough shots at the end of the game saying “that’s why he is such a good player”.

The loss leaves the Raptors 905 still in the 11th spot in the Eastern Division with a 14-15 record. They now sit two games out of the final playoff berth with three games left and four teams between them and the Windy City Bulls who sit in sixth.

7 thoughts on “Simpson scores a dagger three to break the 905’s heart.”

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