Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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905 claim second win of season in best performance yet

Mississauga's team had their way from start to finish

Put another one in the W column for the Raptors 905 as they took down the Delaware Blue Coats 122-104. The win snapped a three game losing streak which followed the 905’s first win of the year at Scotiabank Arena a couple weeks ago, improving their record to 2-11. If you are going to take anything away from this recap, it should be that this is the best the junior Raptors have looked all year. An added bonus is that there were no injuries!! Which have plagued the 905 to a degree this year in which I haven’t seen before.

The 905’s dominance started midway through the first when recently returned Markquis Nowell hooked up with also recently returned Mo Gueye for an emphatic slam.

This moment sparked a 12-2 run and Canada’s only G-League team wouldn’t look back, not giving up the lead past this point. 

“Definitely got to celebrate,” head coach Eric Khoury stated. “We’re celebrating the return of a few guys too and everybody getting minutes. So yeah, enjoy it for sure for tonight and then we’ll regroup tomorrow, watch the film and see if we can get better because we play the same team again on Thursday.”

Welcome to Toronto Jontay

The star of the show was most certainly the new kid on the block, Jontay Porter. In only his second game with the team, Porter had a monster night finishing with 27 points (17 in the first quarter and 23 in the first half), nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and a steal to put the cherry on top. The stretch big did all of this while shooting efficiently from the floor, finishing 11/16 (69%) from the field and 4/6 (66%) from three.

“He’s been someone we’ve been studying for quite a few years now,” Khoury said. “Really good player, great shooter, great passer, great rebounder, [provides] rim protection. He sees the court well, so he fits really well. When you put a lot of smart basketball players together, guys with lots of feel, then they can start reading off each other and he’s for sure one of those guys.”

What makes the brother of NBA champion Michael Porter Jr.’s performance even more impressive is how wild the last couple of days have been for the newcomer.

“72 hours ago I was still in Detroit,” Porter exclaimed. “It’s been crazy, I hopped on a flight to Maine and played a night game. My wife drove up from Detroit and met me in Toronto. Then the last 24 hours [I’ve] just been moving in, unpacking and all that stuff all while worrying about the game plan. So once we settle down my full focus can be on basketball and we have more performances like tonight.”

Defence, defence, defence

It was the best defensive performance from the 905 by a mile last night. They allowed the lowest amount of points scored on them all year (only allowed 68 points after three quarters), forced 14 turnovers, and had 19 stocks (eight steals and eleven blocks). Every single player was active, flying around and played great team defence. In particular, the Raptors were really great at navigating screens and blowing up Delaware’s DHO’s. The biggest reason for improvement has to be the fact that guys are getting healthy and thus are getting more reps.

“It certainly helps having multiple bigs out there on the defensive end,” Khoury proclaimed. “ We played a lot of the game with two bigs on the court and at least always one, where a lot of these most recent games we’re not playing with a big on the court [because of injuries]. Having that rim protection lets our guards be a little bit more aggressive, lets them jump out there and our guards did a great job today too.”

A standout performance on this end of the floor has to be Mo Gueye. In his first game back from a scary fall he took at Scotiabank, he was everywhere defensively. Gueye blocked three shots while altering countless others, used his length to disrupt passing lanes, and finished with the second highest plus/minus on the team with 20. The 6-foot-9 forward also contributed with 12 points and eight rebounds.

The best is yet to come

With only one game left for Mississauga’s team in the Showcase Cup things are starting to look better and better each day. The team is finally healthy with only Javon Freeman-Liberty and Omari Moore on the injury report (Freeman-Liberty is close to returning), and they are playing their best basketball right now. With what is essentially a fresh start with the regular season tipping off on December 27th, the 905 will have an opportunity to capitalize on the season.

“The beauty of the league is everything resets,” Khoury stated. “It’s gonna reset right after probably our two most important games of the year in Orlando and that’s where you have guys from all 30 teams there and [from] overseas. So we want to really execute our stuff over these next couple of games, [while] those guys returning from injuries get to a point where come showcase, there’s no more minute restrictions and they’re playing free.”

With the Showcase Cup coming to an end, the results have been less than ideal for the 905. They’ll close it out on Thursday with a rematch against Delaware where they will hope to end on a high note, after their injury riddled start to the campaign.

Other notable performances:

Kevin Obanor 21 points, 12 rebounds, 5/7 from three.

Markquis Nowell 12 points, 15 assists.

Justise Winslow 13 points, 4 rebounds, one assist and one block.