After just one lowly game to open up Dial 905, we return with four from the past week. The wrinkle in the G League schedule is that everything ebbs and flows. While some teams play a couple games to start the season, others — like Raptors 905 — are full steam ahead.
The 905 went 3-1 this week to improve to 4-1 overall. The wins came against Westchester and Windy City on the road, Erie at home (we’ll get to this one), and the loss was to Long Island.
Right now, the 905 are benefitting from a few young studs and a wide open style of play. Their two-way players have been revelations, especially centre Chris Boucher — who put up some major stat lines this week.
The situation may change in the coming days. With the Raptors nursing a short-term injury to Danny Green and two long-term ones with C.J. Miles and Norm Powell, the margins are thinning on the bench. At some point, it would be prudent for the Raptors to bring up Boucher or Jordan Loyd — as soon as Friday against Boston.
Regardless, let’s look at what happened.
Thursday, November 8 at Westchester Knicks
Before I get to sounding like a broken record, there are going to be a lot of Chris Boucher stat lines in this column as the season goes on. After a home opener win, the Raptors opened their road schedule and improved to 2-0, beating Westchester.
Beyond the 32 points (11-for-24), ten rebounds, and three steals — Boucher was also clutch for the Raptors. After the Knicks battled back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to take a fourth quarter lead, Boucher hit an insurance three with 23 seconds left.
.@chrisboucher breakin' hearts. pic.twitter.com/5rphrDq83c— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) November 9, 2018
Jordan Loyd also very good
The 905’s other two-way player was also solid in this one, scoring 23 points in 36 minutes of play (team-high for the Raps). He also had five rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
After Jama Mahlalela extended his lineup to ten-plus guys in the opener, the 905 tightened the strings to nine players in this one. With Miller still holding a lineup spot with his injury, obviously there’s not a lot of wiggle room. Still, Kyle Collinsworth and Roger Moute a Bidias did not play.
Friday, November 9 vs. Long Island Nets
Long Island 97
The back end of the 905’s first back-to-back of the season was also their first loss, as (still) undefeated Long Island defended home court. The Nets were led by Brooklyn two-way forward Dzanan Musa, who shot 50 per cent to get to 21 points, adding eight rebounds for good measure.
905 struggled with Musa and others on the glass in this one, as they were out-rebounded 67-40. While the 905 aren’t a bad rebounding team so far this year — they average 47.4, good for sixth in the G League — Nets guards Mitchell Creek and Shannon Scott feasted on the defensive glass, marking 15 and 11 boards respectively.
The return of Malachi
His first game with the 905 this season, Malachi Richardson played 31 minutes, making 5-of-11 from deep and totalling a game-high 26 points. Richardson will be using the G League as a proving ground for his three-point shot — the Raptors still have hopes that can be a bench weapon if they need it.
Sunday, November 11 at Windy City Bulls
Windy City 91
After a whole 48 hours of rest, the 905 got back to their winning ways in Chicago, trouncing the Windy City Bulls 111-91. Boucher notched his fourth straight double-double for the 905, as the team rode a torrid shooting night — 48 per cent from the field, 49 per cent from three.
Boucher would finish with 24 points and 16 rebounds, while Loyd had 20 points on 13 shots.
Bench points from Watford
It was also a solid night off the bench for Christian Watford, who’s shown a scoring touch in his second season with the 905. Watford shot 4-for-5 from the field for 15 points, also going a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
Tuesday, November 13 vs. Erie Bayhawks
Now, for the piece de resistance of the 905’s week. Returning home for the annual weekday matinee — which packs Scotiabank Arena with screaming children (not for the faint-hearted opponent) — the 905 smashed a whole bunch of franchise records in a 145-103 win over Erie.
New 905 franchise records; points in a game (145), points in a half (80 - 1st), points in a quarter (45 - 1st), three-point field goals made (21), three-point attempts (49) and points in a half (Malachi Richardson, 25 - 1st) #RoadToTheSix https://t.co/knMMruOo28— Raptors905MR (@Raptors905MR) November 13, 2018
In his second game with the 905, Richardson’s three-pointer audition earned him the spotlight. He made 8-for-15 from distance, totalling 34 points in 29 minutes to lead all players.
Not to be forgotten, Chris Boucher had 27 points, nine rebounds, and two assists — somehow disappointing because it ended his double-double streak. Jordan Loyd had 25 points and seven assists. He also did this.
Yeah, don't jump with @mrjloyd pic.twitter.com/6CEuBoHj7S— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) November 13, 2018
The week in totality
Obviously the environment and stat sheet made this a fun outing, but it’s also a decent representation of the 905 team we’re getting this year. Through a couple weeks, the Raptors are third in the G League in three-point attempts per game (37.4), ninth in pace (106.80), and third in defensive rating (96.4).
If there’s one weakness through two weeks, it’s been matching up against size. Boucher and Deng Adel are lithe players, but skinny. That showed its face against the rebounding Nets, but the 905 have made up for it with havoc in the other games. An interesting trend to watch for as we go.