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Dial 905: A tough loss to the Westchester Knicks sets the team back, and more

The Raptors 905 went 1-2 this week, and fell further behind in their quest for the number one spot.

The Raptors 905 had a huge week, with a big-time game against the division leading Westchester Knicks, a match-up with the Wisconsin Herd at the ACC, and a battle against the Long Island Nets.

The 905 needed to beat the Knicks in order to have a legitimate shot at winning the division and getting the first round bye. Did it happen? Read on.

Saturday, Feb. 24th — vs. Westchester Knicks

Final Score: 110-107 for the Knicks

The 905 hit the road to Westchester looking to make up ground on the division-leading Knicks. However, a dominant second quarter by Westchester really swung momentum, and the 905 never recovered until the fourth when it was just a little too late. The 905 got within three points down the stretch, but that is the closest they would get. The Knicks just held on, and it seems now like they’ll hold on to the division lead as well.

Davion Berry Does His Best

Davion Berry is getting more minutes these days, with Lorenzo Brown still injured and Aaron Best and Kaza Keane with Team Canada for the FIBA qualifiers. With that, Berry serves as the team’s backup point guard, and a lot of the team’s offense ends up running through him. Because of that, Berry is often getting good shots up as he, Kennedy Meeks or Shevon Thompson are running pick-and-rolls to open up shots.

Berry did a lot of that against the Knicks, and put up 25 points, along with 4 assists, a rebound and a steal in 23 minutes, while shooting 4-of-5 from three and 9-of-14 from the field, for a big game for the G League veteran.

Alfonzo McKinnie Gets Buckets

As of late Alfonzo McKinnie has struggled to put up points in the G League, and hasn’t had as much of an impact on the game. Against the Knicks however, McKinnie came to play. He was energetic on both ends of the court and was big off the glass collecting rebounds and tip-ins.

McKinnie ended up playing 35 minutes, and had 18 points, and 8 rebounds, along with a steal. Down the stretch and into the playoffs the 905 will need McKinnie to play his best if they hope to repeat as champions.

Notes

  • Shevon Thompson is still dominating in the paint and huge reason why the 905 have a very good bench unit. Thompson had 16 points, 8 rebounds, and steal in 23 minutes.
  • Kennedy Meeks was once again productive, which should come as no surprise. Meeks had 16 points, 7 rebounds in 27 minutes for another great game from the centre.
  • Malcolm Miller continued his recent hot streak with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
  • Lorenzo Brown is still out with an ankle injury, while Best and Keane are with Team Canada. Meanwhile, Andre Washington and Kuran Iverson were hit with DNP-CDs in this one.

Sunday, Feb. 25th — vs. Wisconsin Herd

Final Score: 129-119 for the 905

The 905 headed into this game the day after the tough loss to the Westchester Knicks. Fortunately, they got to play at the ACC; but unfortunately they knew they’d have to deal with former first round draft pick Brandon Jennings without the help of Brown, Best, and Keane. Coach Jerry Stackhouse went to Kethan Savage to start, and while Jennings scored 29 points, he shot only 8-of-24 from the field.

The 905 had a dominant first quarter outscoring the Herd 37-21, and it was mostly all 905 from there, save for a wild 18-0 Herd run.

Alfonzo Plays Well in Familiar Arena

Alfonzo McKinnie may have just had one of his best games in the G League this season. His shot was dropping, and it often felt like he was everyone on the court collecting rebounds and making some crowd-energizing dunks.

“Alfonzo has been really good lately other than one rough game a couple games back,” said coach Stackhouse afterwards. “But for the most part he is attacking the rim, making the extra pass, jumping up and knocking down some open opportunities when they come.” McKinnie ended up with a team-high 27 points, along with 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, while going 9-of-15 from the field in 33 minutes.

Meeks Keeps Feasting on the G League

To no surprise, Kennedy Meeks once again dominated and continues to look too good for the G League. “Just for him not to get bored and make plays,” Stackhouse said post-game of what Meeks does well. “When he catches it in the middle sometimes he pauses or is hesitant because he is like ‘I just did that’ but it is okay for him to do it again, and keep spreading weak side, getting away and relocating like he has done. You know [he’s] a top-five rebounder in this league, so whenever we do get shots on the board, we have a good opportunity to get a second chance with him and Alfonzo, of the way they go to the offensive boards.”

Meeks ended with 23 points, and 8 rebounds while going 11-of-17 from the field in 31 minutes. Not even one of the million Plumlee brothers could slow him down.

Notes

  • Davion Berry and Malcolm Miller were both hot in this one with 18 and 14 points respectively.
  • Negus Webster-Chan got some run in the game and put up 11 points, in arguably his best outing this season.
  • The 905 cut Kuran Iverson on Tuesday as Aaron Best and Kaza Keane are back with the team. This means Roger Moute a Bidas made the roster for the second time. It’s a bit funny that earlier in the year, Moute a Bidas was cut for Iverson, now it is the other way around.
  • Andre Washington was the lone DNP-CD in this one.

Wednesday, Feb. 28th — vs. Long Island Nets

Final Score: 109-105 for the Nets

The Raptors 905 had Aaron Best and Kaza Keane return to the starting lineup, but Malcolm Miller was with the Raptors, and Lorenzo Brown was still out with an ankle injury. In this one, Stackhouse decided to go for a different look and started Thompson at centre, with Meeks at power forward, the first time the 905 have done this.

Ultimately, it looks like the 905 are better suited to play both at centre and have Meeks start. The 905 ended up in a really close game here, but in the last few possessions the shots just didn’t fall allowing the Nets to win.

Alfonzo McKinnie From Deep?

One knock on McKinnie’s game has been his three-point shot, as McKinnie has been more known to shoot mid-range jumpers or crash the glass to collect then shoot from range. Since joining the Raptors and the 905 however, McKinnie has been shooting a ton more 3s, and knocking them down with more regulariy than at the beginning of the season.

In the last two minutes of this game, McKinnie hit two clutch 3s, but ultimately the 905 just couldn’t make enough other shots, or shut down Isaiah Whitehead, down the stretch. McKinnie shot 3-of-6 from 3 in the game, and had 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists in 34 minutes.

Davion Berry, the Closer

In the last few games, Berry has been with the closing lineup, which has been a bit strange. Berry is known for his offense, and rightfully so, but Berry has improved his defense as well this season in Stackhouse’s system. Berry drew a huge charge late in the game which got the 905 an extra possession to try and win the game. Berry played down the stretch for the 905, taking minutes over Malachi Richardson, who is just not doing that well with the 905 so far.

Berry, along with McKinnie and Fuquan Edwin, are becoming the closers on the wings, which is not something anyone would have predicted to begin the season. Berry finished with 16 points, along with 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Notes

  • Kennedy Meeks had another double-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in 28 minutes as he got the start at power forward. Thompson started the game at centre and was productive with 14 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.
  • Fuquan Edwin is really coming into his own on the offensive and defensive end as he put up 15 points, along with five assists and three huge steals.
  • Malachi Richardson is really struggling shooting the ball, which is a worry as his shooting is supposed to be his strong suit. Richardson was taken out of the starting lineup for Best and still struggled off the bench. He had just six points on a poor 3-of-10 shooting night.
  • Kethan Savage and Negus Webster-Chan were hit with DNP-CDs in this one.

Reminder: If you want to go see any 905 games this year go here and use promo code RAPTORSHQ905 to get discounts on 905 tickets all season long.