Burns gets his first start but 905 lose big once again

The rookie out of Ole Miss was the lone bright spot in another blowout loss.

The Raptors 905 fell to 0-5 with a 105-81 loss to the Greensboro Swarm on Saturday night, also marking their fourth consecutive double-digit defeat this season.

Whether it was because of his production lately, or simply by necessity, with starter Markquis Nowell (along with four others) out, Myles Burns was inserted into the starting lineup for the 905.

The six-foot-six Ole Miss product made the most of his chances.

He tied a team-high with 18 points in this one, to go along with eight rebounds, two steals, and a monster block. The rookie guard did all that just one night after notching a 16-point double-double, and not even a week after dropping a season-high 21 points off the bench.

Burns got some help from the team’s leading scorer Mohamadou Gueye (18.2 PPG) who also put up 18 points, along with 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Meanwhile, Makur Maker had a bounce-back night after going scoreless on Friday, tallying 11 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.

Instant Energy

The 11th overall pick in this year’s NBA G League Draft showed a ton of versatility while he was out there on the floor.

Burns started things off with a defensive highlight when he simply erased a layup attempt in the first quarter, showing off his timing and anticipation skills as a help defender.

Even more impressive was the instant offence he provided in the second frame when his team needed it most. After a 7-0 run by the Swarm had the 905 down five, Burns slammed down a huge putback dunk, converted an and-one layup, and then drew another foul and drilled the free throw.

Seven straight points for the team, bringing him to a team-high 13 as they trailed 56-49 at half-time.

The 23-year-old was a DNP in the 905’s first game of the season and played just 12 minutes in their second. Since then, his minutes have gone up every contest and so has his production. Through their last three games, he’s averaged 18.3 points and eight rebounds in nearly 32 minutes of action.

Whether he was driving through defenders, cutting opportunistically, or being a vocal presence on defence, Burns looked like a veteran out there in his first start.

Second-half woes returned

Unfortunately for 905 fans, the guard’s strong play wasn’t enough to stop their second-half woes from returning. On Friday they got outscored by 33 points following halftime, and things didn’t fare much better in this one as they were outpaced by 17 after the break of this wire-to-wire loss.

The 905 took a page out of their NBA big brother’s book as they shot abysmally from beyond the arch in this game. After knocking down just two three-pointers in the first half, they somehow did worse in the second half, hitting one, for a total of three makes on their 32 attempts.

At a certain point, it just boiled down to simple math, as the Swarm hit six more threes than the 905 for a +18 points edge in that category. Hard to overcome for any team, let alone a 905 team that scored just three points over a nine-minute span between the end of the third and the start of the fourth quarter.

It marked their third game in a row shooting 40 per cent or lower from the field and sub-30 per cent from long range.

Meanwhile, Greensboro had six different players reach double-digit scoring as they won their second consecutive game. Jaylen Sims led the way with 22 points and was lights out for the Swarm right out the gates as he dropped 12 of his team’s first 14 points. Terrell Brown Jr. also looked good as he nearly notched a triple-double in the victory via his 16 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Things won’t get any easier for the 905 as they’ll only have one day to try and get healthy before taking on a 3-1 Westchester Knicks squad on Monday night.