The Raptors 905 looked at times throughout this game like they were not going to win it. The Erie Bayhawks were making a play to steal the win and head to the Finals. However, thanks to a strong finish from the 905 — something this team has been known for over the course of the season — the score went Toronto’s way, 118-106.
The 905 are headed back to the G League Finals for the second straight year.
The 905 were slow out of the gate and the Bayhawks got out to a 10-2 lead, that eventually grew to 14-5 early. Part of this was fuelled by some costly misses from the 905, but credit to the Bayhawks’ D as well. They were making the 905 work.
Erie was led by Josh Magette, a two-way player who has been dominant in the G League this season. He finished the game with 18 points and 12 assists for the Bayhawks. With Erie controlling the game early, coach Jerry Stackhouse relied on his bigs — Kennedy Meeks and Shevon Thompson — to protect the paint and collect rebounds to keep the Bayhawks off the offensive glass. As it has all year, this strategy started to work.
Then it was time for Lorenzo Brown to take over the game. This time out, Brown was joined by Aaron Best, and both began making plays on offense to get the 905 back in the game. Erie began to slow down, and the 905 had the lead down to three after the first quarter.
But the 905 then had to deal with foul trouble for Davion Berry, who has been clutch off the bench for them. In turn, the squad went to Kethan Savage, who has not played meaningful minutes in a long time. Meanwhile, the Bayhwaks started to find their offense again with John Gillon providing a spark off the bench with 22 points — a team-high for Erie.
At the half, the 905 were just down just six points. It was obvious they needed to play better.
With the third quarter underway, Brown started to cook again. He would ultimately finish the game with 28 points, while adding eight assists and four rebounds. While Brown was dominating, Thompson and Fuquan Edwin provided a nice spark off the bench for the Raptors. (Sadly, Meeks and Alfonzo McKinnie were the two steady players for the 905 to falter in this one.)
The 905 eventually pumped the lead up to nine, but Erie would not go away. Best then hit a step-back three, which felt like a real dagger, to give the 905 a double-digit lead with just minutes to go. Best finished with 23 points to help lead the 905 come back.
In the final minutes, the 905 were not messing around. When the final buzzer hit, it was a celebration for the 905, who are now heading back to their second straight G League Finals, something no one thought was possible after the first 10-15 games. Jerry Stackhouse got this team prepared to always show fight, believed in the team, and it resulted in a huge win over Erie.
The 905 now have come back in all three playoff games — this team really had no quit. The 905 will now face the Austin Spurs in a best-of-three Finals, with the first game this Sunday.
- Shevon Thompson was huge off the bench, as Kennedy Meeks struggled with zero points in this one. Thompson filled in with 18 points and 16 rebounds.
- Fuquan Edwin, as mentioned, provided a much-needed spark off the bench as he had 14 points and five rebounds.
- Malcolm Miller was productive for the 905 as he chipped in with 13 points and solid defense, as per usual.
- Only Negus Webster-Chan and Andre Washington didn’t play in this one, as coach Jerry Stackhouse was forced to go to Savage and Roger Moute a Bidas due to foul trouble.