Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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Freeman-Liberty’s 40-point explosion not enough as 905 lose in return to home

905 fall to 1-5 in regular season play after fifth straight loss.

As rain fell and slush formed on the concrete outside of the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, inside the venue the 905 dropped their fifth straight and fell to a 1-5 record after losing 149-130 to the Texas Legends.

To sum up the first game in Mississauga in the new year in one sentence would be this; A whole lotta offence, not a lotta defence. The positive was that the 905 put up 130 points, good right? The negative was that they allowed 149 points, not so good. The 905 got the first bucket of the game and would not lead again for the rest of the contest.

Freeman-Liberty is a monster (in a good way)

Simply put, what a phenomenal game by Javon Freeman-Liberty. 40 points, six assists, five rebounds, 14/26 (53.8%) from the field and 3/9 (33.3%) from distance. After back-to-back double-doubles against College Park coming into last night, this performance topped the cake.

Freeman-Liberty’s ability to be a walking paint touch and get to the rim effectively using his speed, change of pace, and craftiness while attacking from a multitude of angles is really something else. He also has the wherewithal to kick out to shooters once he gets into the painted area for easy drive-and-kick looks. And when teams start to pack the paint and help inside? Freeman-Liberty has shown the ability to hit shots from outside the arc at an average level.

Keep your eye out for a piece on Freeman-Liberty by me in the coming weeks because the way he is playing will earn him an NBA look sooner rather than later.

Defence needs to be better

You aren’t going to win many games when you allow the other team to score 149 points. It’s the ninth time (in 22 games) that Mississauga’s team has allowed their opponent to score over 120 points. In this one specifically however, it was the points in the paint that killed them.

From the moment the Legends had their first offensive possession, it was clear Texas wanted to get to the rim no matter what, and that they did. The Legends finished with 80 points in the paint, with guys like Greg Brown III, Justin Jackson and Montreal native Olivier-Maxence Prosper getting whatever they wanted within 10 feet. It didn’t help that Mo Gueye was in foul trouble nearly the entire game, Jontay Porter is with the big club on their western swing, and Makur Maker missed this one with a heel contusion, leaving the 905 with no bigs on the floor for big portions of the game. In some instances, the biggest player on the floor for the 905 was Myles Burns who stands at a staggering 6-foot-6.

Texas were bigger, longer, and more athletic, causing them to dominate in the paint and out rebound the junior Raptors by 10.

A good one by Gradey

Recently, Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said to the media that Gradey Dick was on a special program, after logging limited minutes with the big club.

“Last two weeks he’s [been] on a special program with his weight, conditioning, [on the] basketball court. He’s been doing a lot of work, he’s been spending a lot of time on the court. When he goes on his next assignment with the 905 there’s going to be an opportunity for him to do everything he’s worked on in the last two weeks. He’s the future of this organization, but he needs to check a couple of points before we really unleash him on the court.”

Less than an hour after that quote, Dick was sent down to the 905. And he showed what he had been working on just like coach Rajakovic said.

19 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while being 8/12 from the field and 2/3 from three. It was unusual to see Dick only take three shots from outside, but he played his most complete game thus far. He attacked inside the arc a lot more than he had previously, hitting a pretty Michael Jordan esque turnaround mid-range jumper in the process. On defence, while having some lapses, he was overall active on that end of the floor.

All in all, it was an enjoyable game with some really cool matchups. Jordan “Jelly” Walker vs Markquis Nowell featured two lightning-quick guards under six feet that can pull it from the logo at any given moment. Greg Brown III vs Mo Gueye saw two supreme athletes that have wingspans longer than a Boeing 747. Or how about the return of Joe “Weasy” Wieskamp vs Gradey Dick, two guys who are more than just shooters and have sneaky athleticism.

If you missed the game, they’ll do it all again with the same teams, at the same time, at the same place tomorrow.

Other notable performances:

Kevin Obanor 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists.

Markquis Nowell 14 points, 11 assists.

Darryl Morsell 11 points, two rebounds, two assists.