Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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905 comeback falls short as Squadron squeaks out win in MLK day matinee

The 905's two-game win streak was snapped by one of the G-League's best offences.

The Raptors 905 were four points away from sweeping the two-game set against Birmingham, as they fell to the offensive powerhouse Squadron 108-105.

Birmingham went on an 11-2 run to form a dozen-point lead — the biggest lead in the game — with 3:48 left in the fourth quarter. The Raptors would then respond with a 13-2 run of their own, but Kira Lewis Jr.’s late free throws would sink the 905 for good.

Lewis Jr. and E.J. Liddell were assigned by the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday and proved too much for the Dinos to handle, combining for 35 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals. Not to be outdone by Malcolm Hill who carved up the 905 from inside and out, going for 30 points (including 12 from three), six rebounds and two steals.

Impressive Defensive Performances

Despite the big performances on the Squadron side, the Raptors can hold their heads high on what their defence was able to accomplish over this two-game set.

Coming into the first game between these two on Saturday, Birmingham was first in the league in offensive rating, first in points per game (124.3), first in free throw percentage (86.5%), and third in three-point percentage (39.9%).

The Raptors held them to the lowest total of points they have allowed and the Squadron have scored all-season with 98 points in game one, and then held Birmingham to their fourth-lowest total this season at 108.

Since the reset, the 905 have only allowed an opponent to go over 112 points twice and have generally looked more connective and improved on that end of the floor.

Balanced Offensive Attack

Not one player took the reins offensively in this game, instead, it was a five-pronged attack between all the starters.

Markquis Nowell, Mo Gueye, Javon Freeman-Liberty, Justise Winslow, and Kevin Obanor all finished with at least 16 points.

Nowell finished with 20 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Gueye and Freeman-Liberty both dropped 16 points to go along with two steals. Obanor finished with a team-high 21 points and seven rebounds, while Winslow contributed 19 points with six rebounds.

Barebones Bench

They needed all of those points and more from the starting group as the bench was not particularly good in this one.

While the team overall shot 49.4% from the field and 35.7% from three, the bench went 6/18 from the field and 1/8 from downtown. The numbers look much improved without the bench in there as the starters shot 53.8% from the field and 45% from behind the arc.

The four players off the bench (Omari Moore, Myles Burns, Jaysean Paige, and Darryl Morsell) were a combined minus-18 and were outscored by Birmingham’s bench 26-13.

After going 4-12 before the reset, the 905 currently sit at 3-6 in the regular season. The combination of players getting healthy, the additions of Jontay Porter, Drake Jeffries and Kobi Simmons (joined late before the reset), and being improved on the defensive end, have allowed the Raptors to nearly match their win total to before the reset while playing just over half the amount of games.

The 905 are back in action on Wednesday in Washington before returning to Mississauga for a six-game homestand.