The mechanics of the G League can make it hard to gain in-season momentum. With many teams’ best players flipping up and down between their NBA affiliate and the G League, it can be hard to predict your roster and its output on any given night.
Last week, the 905 struggled a bit with this, as the Raptors went on a road trip with injuries that demanded some minutes from Chris Boucher and Jordan Loyd. The result was a little madcap, as point guard Kay Felder took a whole ton of shots and none of the other Toronto players settled into any consistent play. This week, the team returns home, and the G League team can settle into what they know.
When the roster’s full, when Boucher and Loyd are in the starting lineup, it appears that Jama Mahlalela’s team is settling into a style they know well. That was on full display this week, as the 905 got two wins to improve to 7-3, good for third in the Eastern Conference.
Let’s get into the details in this week’s Dial 905.
Saturday, November 24 at Greensboro Swarm
Since their inaugural season, the Raptors 905 have had some pretty great NBA-ready players put up stat lines. That’s part of the Masai Ujiri environment — with so much talent on the back end of your NBA roster, there’s no question some of it will leak into the G League.
That’s why it’s been so surprising to see what Chris Boucher is doing to start the season. Against Greensboro, he put up a franchise record 37 points, breaking the mark set by Lorenzo Brown and Norman Powell — who both had separate 36-point games. Oh, and the centre had 14 rebounds and four blocks to go with it.
#2WayPlayers @ChrisBoucher & Jordan Loyd (@mrjloyd) combined for OVER HALF of @Raptors905's points in their win on Saturday night— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 25, 2018
Boucher led the team with a CAREER-HIGH 37 PTS, 14 REB & 4 BLK, while Loyd added 24 PTS, 5 AST & 3 REB @OregonMBB/@UIndyMBB ↗️ @Raptors905 pic.twitter.com/q8q5aa5bzw
The matchup with Greensboro was a battle of bigs, as Swarm centre Chinanu Onuaku also put up a career-high with 27 points on 19 shots. The difference ended up being on the perimeter, as the 905 got 24 points on an efficient 10-for-18 game from Jordan Loyd, along with 15 points from Kay Felder. The starters finished no worse than +15 for Toronto, as they rode a big third quarter (30-23) and a late Boucher three to win.
Collinsworth with an impactful game
Kyle Collinsworth’s numbers won’t jump out at you in this one, but the power forward was a game-high +20 and did a bit of everything — eight points, seven rebounds (two offensive), three steals, five assists, and one block.
Tuesday, November 27 at Erie Bayhawks
Late game execution has been a strong suit of the 905 early on this season. Their loose style has got them caught up in some high scoring games, but the defence hasn’t quite developed to the point where they can stop teams from doing the same. That was the case in Erie, as the 905 had to barely hang on against a late game comeback by the Bayhawks.
Erie would drop 45 points in the third quarter alone (answering a 45-point first quarter from the 905 - the new NBA, folks!), led by centre Terrence Jones, who totalled a game-high 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Outscoring Toronto by 17 in the frame, the 905 found themselves in a battle after being up by as many as 21.
While the 905 continued to struggle with the former Houston Rockets big, a late run was capped by a game-winning layup by Kay Felder, who secured a narrow win.
Boucher and Loyd, rinse and repeat
Toronto was led by who you’d expect, as Boucher and Loyd combined for 60 points in the win — accounting for nearly half the team’s points. Add in 22 for Felder and you’ve got the peak 905 game based on how this young season has gone.
All said, Toronto will be in tough when the two-way players aren’t in, but man... when they are. Boucher was 8-for-16 and made 14-of-15 free throws, adding 16 boards, while Loyd was a hyper-efficient 10-for-15.
These guys are good, and Raptors fans should feel good about having them in Mississauga.