Just like in the first round against the Canton Charge, the Raptors 905 have another sweep. This time it’s against the Red Claws, with a 103-88 win sealing a 2-0 series victory. As a result, now they’re off to the D-League Finals, which will begin this weekend.
The 905 were helped by incredible performances from E.J. Singler and Brady Heslip. Singler finished the game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, while Heslip finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists and an impressive 6-of-11 from three.
It wasn’t a cake walk though, as the 905 started the game 0-of-5 from three while Maine was 2-of-2 from the field and quickly had a 5-0 lead. That was until Bruno Caboclo got his chance to shine in meaningful playoff minutes. The once and future king started the game 2-of-3 from the field, to tie the game at 5. After the rough two minutes, the 905 quickly returned to form and went on a run — they led 18-9 with just under 6 minutes left in the 1st. From there Siakam showed why he was a first round draft pick, using his speed and transition game which proved to be too much for the Red Claws. Siakam finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
On the defensive end the 905 came up huge, something Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse has preached about all season. With 3 minutes remaining in the 1st the 905 had already forced 5 turnovers, and limited the Red Claws to shoot 24 percent from the field. The 905 finished the quarter up 23-11, with a defensive rating of 50 points per 100 possessions. Unreal.
Entering the second quarter, Red Claws forward and Rookie of the Year Abdel Nader really started to show his frustration after multiple 905 players blew past him to get to the basket. Maine, however, wouldn’t go away as Demetrius Jackson took control of the Red Claws’ offense and led a mini-comeback Jackson ended up finishing with 21 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
The 905 really took over the game in the second when Brady Heslip started shooting the lights out from three and Nader went ice cold. For this stretch, Heslip was 3-of-5 from deep, while Abdel Nader went 0-of-5 from beyond the arc (he finished 1-of-9 from three). The frustration continued to show for Nader as after a Heslip three, he got into it with C.J. Leslie, the resultant pushing and shoving earning both he and Leslie technical fouls. Even that couldn’t stop Heslip as he finished the quarter 5-of-7 from three, which fuelled a 21-2 run to the end half. The 905 were up 56-36.
Stepping in for the recently signed Edy Tavares was Yanick Moreira who used his length to come down with defensive rebounds and disrupt passing lanes and shots. The big man in the middle finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists, and helped anchor the team’s defense. By the end of the 3rd, the 905 led 77-63. It was getting to be pretty easy by this point.
For the final frame, both E.J. Singler and Brady Heslip again took over on offense. Meanwhile the length of Caboclo proved to wreck havoc on the Red Claws’ offense. Bruno he blocked some shots, forced some bad shots, and again showed where his skill set should be useful in the NBA. Bruno also finished with 16 points, going 4-of-8 from three.
In the end, the 905 were just a better team than the Red Claws. With under two minutes to go the Hershey Centre started to play Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye, and so it was. The 905 beat the Red Claws, won the series 2-0, and now head to the D-League Finals to face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.