Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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Freeman Liberty’s 36 points not enough to take down the Swarm

The Raptors 905 struggles continue as they extend their losing streak to six.

Despite Javon Freeman-Liberty exploding for 36 points, the Raptors 905 (5-14) lost 116-106 to the Greensboro Swarm (7-11) on Tuesday night.

Freeman-Liberty and Justise Winslow combined for 59 points, but even with this heroic effort, it wasn’t enough to snap the 905’s losing streak.

The 905 came into this game with a full squad as they had Jontay Porter, Mouhamadou Gueye, and Justise Winslow take their roles as starters once again.

In the first quarter, the 905 came out on fire, pushing the pace and playing at an extremely fast tempo. Everyone came out with high energy, taking it right at the Swarm. Hitting shots and driving with strong takes. Porter, Gueye, and Winslow showed off how much they bring to the team as they provided much-needed size and defence to help stop the swarm. Even though the 905 played great defence in the first, the Swarm would just knock down difficult shots to end off the quarter with the lead.

The second quarter was a very different story from the first. With the second unit in, the pace that the 905 came out with slowed down dramatically. They would struggle to score as turnovers plagued them this quarter, with seven turnovers in total. With Gueye also sitting, the 905 had difficulty keeping the Swarm out of the paint and allowed them to consistently drive to the rim.

However, as soon as Freeman-Liberty and Kobi Simmons checked back in, there was an instant change in tempo. Both guards would score quick buckets to help keep the game close. The Swarm led the 905 59-57 at the half.

The third quarter was the Freeman-Liberty quarter. The 905 guard would take over, scoring bucket after bucket. He was constantly playing with great energy, making the right plays, pushing the pace, and taking it right to the basket. Even with this outburst, the Swarm would capitalize on some sloppy 905 passes and get the easy conversions on the other end.

Freeman-Liberty would continue his scoring into the fourth, and it seemed like this helped energize the rest of the team. The offence wouldn’t be as stagnant, and the energy picked back up on defence as well. The 905 would try to keep the game close, but the Swarm would just continue to make tough shots and capitalize on the turnovers.

905 Coach Eric Khoury spoke after the game about why the pace slowed down after that impressive start.

“Second unit came in after we started the game pretty well, and execution fell off a cliff,” Khoury said. “We never really got it back. Good on them, Greensboro had some good adjustments and their switching slowed us down a bunch.”

The Freeman-Liberty Show

Even though this game ended up in a loss, Javon Freeman-Liberty showed out and exploded for 36 points, with 15 of those points coming in the third quarter.

The 24-year-old would only score 11 points in the first half but would go on to take over the second have with 25 points. He would end the game shooting 57 percent from the field and managed to snag nine rebounds in the process.

Freeman-Liberty was one of the main reasons that the 905 stayed in this game, and his offence just keeps getting better.

“When we want to control the turnovers and go more ISO basketball, he’s our best ISO player,” Khoury said when asked about how important Freeman-Liberty’s offence was to the team. “We can screen, get a switch, and let him attack. He does a good job of getting downhill, he was 13-of18 on twos which is very impressive.”

Hopefully, he can continue to improve and get a shot at seeing more minutes on the main Raptors roster.

What’s next for the 905?

The Raptors 905 will get their chance at a rematch with the Greensboro Swarm this Thursday at 11 am, at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.