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Raptors 905 Lose in the Margins

Winners win in the margins. The 905 did not. They split the back-to-back game against Delaware after losing 125-120 last night.

It was a close game, but the 905 mainly lost the fourth quarter. 

The 905 had six more turnovers than Delaware, and gave up 15 points off turnovers. In contrast, Delaware gave up 10 points off 13 turnovers. 

Some unnecessary turnovers and careless handling of the basketball were hidden during the back-and-forth affair of the game, but small mistakes became amplified when they were down in the fourth.

Miscommunication between Kobi Simmons (14 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists) and Darryl Morsell gave Delaware an easy offensive possession. Jared Brownridge (14 total points on 4-for-9 three-point shooting) made the 905 pay by hitting a triple and went up one point with 10:40 left in the game. After Brownridge hit another triple to give Delaware a six-point lead, Markquis Nowell turned the ball over from a baseline inbound play, and the offensive possession resulted in the 905 being down 8 with 5:22 left.

But the 905 continued to fight as Mouhamadou “Mo G” Gueye’s great help-side block on Darius Bazley, fueled a transition offensive bucket. The 905 were down three with 2:26 in the game, but Javonte Smart’s 10th triple – he shot an incredible 10-for-14 from three-point range – widened the lead to six with less than two minutes to go. 

A nasty Darius Bazley block was answered again by a spirited Mo G three-point block, but words coming out of Justise Winslow’s mouth put Smart at the line for two free points. Down eight points with 1:29 to go, Nowell played hero ball, and the shot hit nothing but plexiglass. 

“I think that was a read he made trying to get points in a hurry,” Eric Khoury said. “It was an early shot, trying to get points on the board.”

Markquis Nowell

But this isn’t a knock on Nowell. He finished with 19 points and 13 assists, and he initiated momentum in the third quarter. He hit a triple early in the third to make it a 11-point game, and he drew a  foul on a dribble pull-up three from the top. It’s the G League, so he shot a single free throw which counted as three points, and made it an eight-point game (the G League free throw rule does not apply in the last two minutes of the game).

Nowell and Simmons played extremely well with each other. Nowell hit the left corner three early in the third quarter on a pass from Simmons, and Nowell reciprocated later in the quarter – he drove the lane, collapsed the defense, and kicked it out to Simmons on the weakside wing for a knock-down three. Nowell rubbed it in the Delaware bench’s face by firing shots as he ran back on defence. In the ensuing offensive possession, Nowell made another triple off a Simmons assist. Late in the final frame, Powell passed the ball right into Simmons’ shooting pocket for a downtown splash.

905 Dick Report

It’s the holiday season, so I’ll refrain from being reactionary and negative. What I will say is that he had the lowest plus/minus of any player, and shot 2-for-10 from the field. And that’s not in an NBA City. That was in the trenches. 

That being said, Dick had threw a beautiful pump fake, attacked the basket, and dished it out for a nice dime.

Off-ball double staggered screens were being set for Dick, and the defence playing honestly sugggets that even if he shot 1-for-6 from downtown, the perception of being a three-point threat helped the 905 offense (Rest In Eternal Peace to FiveThirtyEight’s Sports section, btw).

Appreciating G League’s copious talent

Javonte Smart scored a career-high 40 points on 10-for-14 three-point shooting. I don’t know if that’s indicative of 905’s defense, but 71% from three is simply incredible. Member of the 2019 Raptors championship squad Patrick McCaw played, while former 905 guard Jeff Dowtin Jr. watched from the sidelines.

Former NBA player Darius Bazley finished with 26 points on 24 shot attempts and 14 boards. Like him, 905 player Justise Winslow poured in a team-high 23 points and team-high 10 plus/minus. Both Bazley and Winslow are looking to get back to the NBA. Darko Rajakovic and Pat Delaney were also in the building watching all the action unfold.

The 905 had a rough Showcase Cup with two wins, and will head to Orlando to play in the Winter Showcase. They’ll press the reset button, and play their first 38-game regular season game on Wednesday, December 27th.