The Raptors 905 hit the road for two games before returning home this past week. Here’s a summary of how things played out for our favourite D-League team.
Friday Jan. 6 — vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Final Score: 114-110 for the 905 as they improve to 13-7, ending a 4-game losing streak.
Axel Toupane Dominates Once Again
To the surprise of no one I’ll write it again: Toupane should be in the NBA. Against the Mad Ants, Toupane got the start and once again set to work owning the game. In this contest, no one could check Axel on the offensive end but he sure could check them on the defensive end. With the D-League Showcase a week away, this may be the moment when Axel gets his NBA call-up.
In the game against Fort Wayne, Toupane played 38 minutes with 23 points, six rebounds and one assist. Toupane has been very consistent for this 905 roster and is hands down the team’s MVP.
Edy Tavares Produces Strong Game
Tavares has dominated the post game in the D-League and regularly been posting double-doubles on the stat sheet. In this game, Tavares started and finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, along with 1 assist, in 26 minutes.
In a guard heavy league like the D-League, size is hard to come by and coach Jerry Stackhouse and the 905 have two quality centres in Tavares and Yanick Moreira who can dominant the post against much smaller ‘bigs’.
- Jarrod Uthoff had his best game of his young D-League career, finishing with 14 points, four assists, and six rebounds in 25 minutes off of the bench for a +25.
- Fred VanVleet continued his run of strong D-League play with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
- Goodluck Okonoboh and Negus Webster-Chan were inactive again, along with John Jordan, who was hit with the DNP-CD. In something of a surprise move CJ Leslie’s stat line was also a DNP-CD.
Saturday Jan. 7 — vs. Windy City Bulls
Final Score: 102-100 for the 905 as they improve to 14-7
D-League Records for the 905
The team's last road loss was February 23, 2016 @ Iowa Energy— Raptors905MR (@Raptors905MR) January 8, 2017
Fred VanVleet is Clutch
Not only is Fred VanVleet arguably the best player on the court for the 905, but in this game he showed his clutch ability. With the game tied at 100-100 and heading down to the wire, VanVleet was fouled with only seconds left on the clock. VanVleet went to the line and hit both free throws, sealing the win for the 905. VanVleet finished with 23 points, seven assists, five rebounds in 36 minutes, a very impressive day the team’s starting point guard.
Has Leslie Fallen Out of Rotation?
Here’s something surprising (and possibly intriguing): the once-consistent CJ Leslie has seen his minutes decrease a ton in the last two games. Perhaps he’s on the verge of an NBA call-up? Last game Leslie was a DNP-CD — he was dressed to play but Stackhouse decided not to use him at power forward. In this game on the road, Leslie dressed and saw game action but only got eight minutes of playing time. Definitely strange and something to keep your eye on.
- Axel Toupane stayed hot in this game registering 21 points, four assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes, as he got the start once again.
- EJ Singler provided much needed depth off the bench with 11 points in 23 minutes.
- Goodluck Okonoboh, Negus Webster-Chan were the two inactives as well as John Jordan who was once again hit with the DNP-CD.
Tuesday Jan. 10 — vs. Greensboro Swarm
Final Score: 122-109 for the 905 as they improve to 15-7 and start a 3-game winning streak
Entering this game after two wins on the road should spark a team, but questions were out there on how well the 905 play at home.
The 905 did right the ship as they put on a dominate performance against the Greensboro Swarm.
Heslip saw a lot of time at shooting guard, his natural position, and it paid of huge for the 905. The massive double digit lead the 905 had was slowly chipped away by Greensboro until Brady went in at the 2-spot and took over this game single-handedly. Off the bench Heslip played in 23 minutes, scored 25 points and added 1 steal. What’s even more impressive: Heslip shot 5-of-6 from three, 7-of-8 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. The man can shoot the basketball.
Bruno Showing Promise
While Bruno Caboclo continues to work on his game, over the past week he’s shown some gains in his consistency, which is important for his development. In this game Bruno played in 30 minutes, scoring 14 points, adding seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Bruno’s game is more than just stats though, as he is learning to use his giant wingspan to the 905’s advantage more and more every game. In a sense, Caboclo’s presence and reach acted as a semi-double team on any Greensboro player in his vicinity. While Bruno’s offensive consistency is still something of a question, his future as a defensive specialist may snag him an NBA spot in the future.
- VanVleet produced a double-double with 12 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes.
- Toupane, Singler and Antwaine Wiggins each had good games with 15 points, 13 points and 12 points, respectively.
- The 905 were forced to go small as Moreira picked up two technical fouls on the same play and was ejected. Afterwards, Tavares picked up three quick fouls to put him at five, so he also took a seat.
- Goodluck Okonoboh and Negus Webster-Chan were the two inactives along with John Jordan, victim of another DNP-CD.