Given the almost comical number of injuries the Toronto Raptors have gone through early in the season, it’s understandable that the 905 have gotten off to a slow start. The scratches list for a Raptors game is now starting to look like an Avengers credit reel, with Matt Thomas, Stanley Johnson, and Dewan Hernandez added to the existing list of Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Patrick McCaw.
That’s what makes this week’s turnaround for the 905 so pleasant. After an 0-4 start to the season, the Raptors won both their games in the G League this week over Erie and Windy City, improving to a respectable 2-4 overall.
Key to those wins was better play in the second halves of games, a weak point early in the season. New guys are stepping up too with the regular absence of two-way players Oshae Brissett and Hernandez.
Let’s look back at the games and memorable performances in this week’s Dial 905.
Saturday, November 23 at Erie Bayhawks
Coming off what he said was his best game since a significant ligament injury kept him out of basketball for over a year, Tyler Ennis continued his excellent play in last Saturday’s 905 game in Erie.
The Raptors needed every point too, as this one turned into a track meet in the second half. The 905 and Bayhawks scored a combined 63 points in the fourth quarter, then rattled off three overtime periods before two critical Ennis free throws with 2.8 seconds left sealed a Raptors win.
Ennis led the 905 with 29 points. Without Brissett and Hernandez in the lineup, he became a volume shooter — making 11-for-25 shots in a team-high 42 minutes, marking a +19 and adding seven rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. Not bad for a guy still getting his legs under him (literally).
Second Quarter Highlights from @TheRealMM10 @TylerEnnis @drob7nson @Nicholas_Baer pic.twitter.com/OJI1LxpXcu— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) November 24, 2019
You don’t get to 143 points without help, though, as the 905 shot a blazing 50% from the field and 41% from three — mostly thanks to 5-for-8 three-point shooting from Paul Watson (24 points) and 5-for-11 from Shamorie Ponds off the bench (27 points). Devin Robinson scored 24 points of his own to go with 14 rebounds (10-for-19).
G League stud and LSU product Josh Gray led all players in scoring on the Erie side, scoring 35. Gray hit a go-ahead three for the Bayhawks with 39.8 seconds left in OT3 to make it 136-135 (haha), but three straight shooting fouls by Erie allowed the 905 to retain a lead easily at the charity stripe. The 905 needed just one FG to get to 10 points in the third overtime and earn the win.
Tuesday, November 26 vs. Windy City Bulls
High off their first win of the season, the 905 returned home to Paramount Fine Foods Arena on Tuesday and got a much easier win against the Windy City Bulls. The game was Affiliate Night with Malcolm Miller and “Slimm Duck” Chris Boucher himself making his presence at the game to sign things for cute fans.
BONJOURRRRRR.@chrisboucher | #ThisIsWhyWePlay pic.twitter.com/yj86gTBIji— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) November 27, 2019
As if reminded that the 905 glow up for centres is extremely real, Devin Robinson did his best Boucher impression in the win. He scored a game-high 25 points on an excellent 10-for-15 line, making 2-for-4 from three and grabbing eight boards. To be honest, this kind of dunk should’ve counted for more than two points (also... please Windy City, stop the ball.)
cleared for takeoff @drob7nson @GatorsMBK ↗️ @Raptors905 pic.twitter.com/7lKnssD3HV— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 27, 2019
Brissett, down with the team on an off-day for the Raptors, scored 16 points off the bench on 6-for-13 shooting. New addition Justin Anderson had 15 points and marked a +13 in a game that was never in doubt past halftime. Already up 12, the 905 won the third quarter 34-25 to put the game away before the fourth quarter.
Rough shooting killed the Bulls too, as they made just for 4-of-32 three-point shots, highlighted by a dismal 2-for-13 for Max Strus and 2-for-10 for Milton Doyle.
Next up for the 905? A home game against the Long Island Nets before a quick trip to Delaware to play the Blue Coats on Tuesday — two games against teams also in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings.