The Raptors 905 played their second (and final) game of the D-League Showcase. Then they welcomed the Texas Legends in for a school day game.
Here is a summary of what went down.
Friday Jan. 20 — vs. Long Island Nets
Final Score: 111-104 for the 905, moving them to 18-7.
A Big Game for the Big Man ‘Edy’ Tavares
Edy Tavares has been a monster in the D-League this season often being 2-4 inches taller than the players he matches up against. With that extra size, he often dominates the post and this game was no different for the big man. Tavares got the start and in 33 minutes put up 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Yet another double double for the big man, which is becoming a regular thing for Tavares.
CJ Leslie Puts Numbers on the Boards
Leslie wasn’t even supposed to play this game. While no player admitted it, apparently Leslie lost the 1-on-1 competition to see who would sit in place of the inactive Okonoboh. It turned out to be a good thing for the 905 as Leslie put up 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in his 26 minutes. The D-League Showcase was important for Leslie to garner some attention from NBA or overseas scouts.
Axel Toupane Provides a Spark
Toupane once again looked like the best player on the court in this one. There were some whispers that Axel would possibly be getting an NBA call up before this game but it did not happen. Toupane, in his super sixth man role, played 21 minutes, scoring 13 points, while adding 6 assists and 7 rebounds. He’s good.
- Negus Webster-Chan was on the inactive list along with Antwaine Wiggins, who gave up his roster spot so Goodluck could get into the lineup. “It’s all good that I’m an inactive,” said Wiggins. “There is still tons of games left. Goodluck is playing so I’m happy he gets a chance to show his game.”
- John Jordan and Will Sheehey added some much needed scoring. Jordan’s stat line was 22 minutes, 13 points (including 2-of-3 from three), 3 assists, 3 steals. Will Sheehey, meanwhile, played 34 minutes for 18 points, 1 assist, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
Wednesday Jan. 25 — vs. Texas Legends
Final Score: 114-108 for the 905, as they have won 7 in a row and sit at 19-7.
Delon Wright Returns!
Since hurting his shoulder during the Las Vegas Summer League in July, Wright hasn’t seen the court. That is, until today — and boy, was he happy. I walked into the Hershey Centre at the same time as Delon and he had a huge smile in his face, telling the Hershey Centre workers that he is back, playing in his first game in some time. Post-game however Wright said (talking about the night before the game) “I wasn’t even excited, other people were more excited. I didn’t realize that I was going to play a game, until this morning when I woke up and that is when I got excited.”
Delon played in 21 minutes in his return. While there was no official word about a minutes restriction, Delon didn’t even start the second half with the rest of the starters. He chipped in 10 points, with 4 assists and 2 blocks. Even though his stat line may not show it, he was the best player on the court by far, offensively and defensively. “Right now I will be here for the next two games,” said Wright afterwards. “After that I am not too sure.” When he was asked about his surgically repaired shoulder, Wright had this to say: “It feels fine, I took a couple hits and it didn’t affect me.” Definitely a good sign for Raptors fans.
Brady Heslip Puts on a Show for the Kids
With Wright’s cautious return, Heslip came off the bench in this one, but got the bulk of the minutes. Heslip also saw some minutes at SG when Delon was playing the point. Lucky enough for the 905, Heslip’s shot was falling as the Legends are filled with former NBA players (Ben Gordon, Tony Wroten and DeJuan Blair). Heslip ended up playing in 33 minutes, scoring 24 points with 6 assists. He also shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line, while going 6-of-12 from three and 7-of-13 overall from the field. Not a bad day, Mr. Heslip, not bad at all.
Toupane Kills it Again
To the surprise of some, Toupane remains in the D-League with the 905, even after the Showcase. He got the start against the Legends and, to no surprise, produced another gem. In this game Axel played in 27 minutes and scored 19 points, while adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. Often on defense, Toupane was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s point guard too, which just shows his defensive abilities.
After the game I had the chance to talk to Axel about the team’s performance and the 11am tip-off. ”I think we played good, as it isn’t easy playing at 11am. We went up against a great offense, and only limited them to 108 points so that is good.” As to whether Toupane is pining for a return to the NBA, a league that has so obviously helped him develop as a player, Axel had this to say: “Yeah, as you can get a lot of experience as you play against the best players in the world, and in the end it makes you a better player.”
- John Jordan and Antwaine Wiggins were the two inactive players this time out, while Goodluck Okonoboh and Jarrod Uthoff got a DNP-CDs. It will be interesting to see if coach Jerry Stackhouse is shortening his rotation or not.
- It was also Bell Let’s Talk Day at the game, which meant having TSN’s Michael Landsberg on hand to tell his story. Plus, a bonus appearance from Muggsy Bogues.