Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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905 suffer third-straight loss in blowout to Westchester

Another tough loss for the 905.

As the snowflakes fell outside of the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, inside the building the Raptors 905 began their final stretch of games to conclude the 2023-2024 season on the wrong foot, losing to the Westchester Knicks 134-106.

Right from the beginning Mississauaga’s team was playing from behind, as the Knicks started the game on a 7-0 run, beating the 905 up and down the floor which was a common theme on Tuesday night. The Raptors responded with a 9-0 run themselves, but it would all be for nothing as a 33-17 stretch put together by Westchester midway through the first half would give the Knicks control for the rest of the game.

It was the fifth highest amount of points the 905 have allowed all year, with a big discrepancy in points in the paint specifically. Westchester outscored the Raptors 76-56 down low while making 67.8 percent of their shots from the painted area.

“A big lack of physicality,” said Raptors 905 head coach Eric Khoury.

“They were just living in the paint, a lot of it was our turnovers that led to that. The first line was breaking down way too easily, no fight on the screen and then they would just go right by us and go right downhill. There was no second layer or third layer of help.”

The main thorn in the 905’s side was dunk contest competitor Jacob Toppin. The 23-year-old started the game 7/7 from the field and finished the first half with 24 points. The junior Raptors tightened it up on the Kentucky alum in the second half, however, where he didn’t make another shot.

“He was able to get whatever he wanted,” said Khoury.

“He had some good plays in the half court too but that was the overall focus on defence.”

The Raptors assigned Javon Freeman-Liberty and Jahmi’us Ramsey to the 905 for Tuesday’s game, before Ramsey was pulled late. Freeman-Liberty was held to a minutes cap in this one and still finished with 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, and hit five of his seven shots from downtown. The 24-year-old has been expanding his game to shoot more shots off the dribble, something he showcased with a nice step-back pull-up in the third quarter which hit nothing but net.

“I’m definitely getting up a lot of more reps on my shot, off-ball and on-ball,” said Freeman-Liberty.

“My shots are just falling from getting good looks, really can’t get too tired of the shooting stuff, it’s the reps.”

Despite being the 905’s leading scorer, he is also one of the team’s best defenders. Which is something the former two-time MVC All-defence team member takes pride in.

“At the big team that’s probably what I’m going to be doing mostly so, I’m really dialling into my defence, knowing all the coverages and just probably stopping my man.”

The 905’s record has dropped to 11-20 after going 2-6 in their last eight. The Raptors have three games remaining on the docket and all will occur at Paramount. They take on the Wisconsin Herd on Saturday to round out the week.