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Dial 905: Justin Anderson comes alive in split week

The Raptors 905 discovered a new offensive catalyst this week, as they went 1-2 in three games.

Long Island Nets v Mississauga Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

With lineup inconsistencies early in the season, the Raptors 905 made a shrewd signing last week — bringing Justin Anderson on board. The G League veteran has been around the block, relatively speaking, playing for Dallas, Philadelphia, and Atlanta before being waived by the Hawks over the summer. His most prolific campaign was the one with the Sixers in 2016-17, when he averaged 21.6 minutes per game in 24 appearances, scoring 8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

After failing to make a roster spot with the Wizards in the preseason, Anderson — a 6’6” wing out of Virginia — landing in the hands of the 905.

The addition has paid off immediately for the 905, who still haven’t been able to work Dewan Hernandez into consistent action and are working Oshae Brissett in a role similar to the one he would play in the NBA — a catalyst off the bench. This leaves more of the burden on guys like Tyler Ennis, Shamorie Ponds, and Duane Notice. Anderson’s addition to that core gives the Raptors a bit more firepower to work with.

Let’s look at how it played out in the week that was in Dial 905.

Friday, November 29 vs. Long Island Nets

Nets 111
Raptors 112

After a 3OT game against Maine the week prior, the 905 kept the close games going in this one with a one-point overtime win over Long Island. Anderson and Shamorie Ponds were the stories in this game — starting with Anderson who had 25 points, six rebounds, and a steal on 8-for-16 shooting and 5-for-11 from three. His basket in the dying seconds of regulation forced overtime, where he scored two of the team’s four points — just enough to earn the win.

Ponds, meanwhile, led the 905 with a season-high 29 points and had the other OT basket, making a ridiculous 12-of-23 shots off the bench in 35 minutes to help drive the bus to victory.

A balanced attack that also included 20 points from Ennis was key on a night where neither the Nets nor the 905 shot the ball particularly well — the Raptors going 29% from three and Long Island going 21%. Former 905er Deng Adel led the 905 with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but went just 10-for-21 from the field and 0-for-5 from three.

Tuesday, December 3 at Delaware Blue Coats

Raptors 106
Blue Coats 115

A poor shooting night on the road sunk the 905 in their second game of the week, as the squad shot just 39% and 23% from three in a narrow loss to Delaware. Sometimes it really is just that simple.

Dewan Hernandez was with the team for this one and led them in scoring with 22, grabbing eight rebounds as well.

It was a balanced scoring effort overall for the 905, as Ponds had 19 off the bench and Brissett and Anderson chipped in 17 each in the starting lineup. Ennis had 16.

That balance was outdone by Delaware, though, who had six players score in double digits. Zhaire Smith, a Sixers play down on assignment, had one of his best G League performances with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

Thursday, December 5 vs. Long Island Nets

Nets 117
Raptors 116

For their second meeting of the week, the 905 and Nets had one of the craziest finishes in recent G League memory. Down by ten coming into the fourth quarter, Justin Anderson led the Raptors on a memorable comeback trail, ending with him getting fouled on a three-point shot with the game on the line. Heading to the free throw line needing all three shots to tie it, he came up with... two.

A bummer? Absolutely. But Anderson once again proved his microwave value to this 905 team, dropping an incredible 40 points on 23 shots, drilling six threes, and pumping his line with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Anderson was too good for just one highlight, so please enjoy.

That dang poor start caught up with the 905 in the end, though. A 63-51 first half was nearly overcome, but the Nets won the game with a balanced scoring effort, led by 20 points from Henry Ellenson.

The 905 need a bit more, too, from Shamorie Ponds (4-for-18, 10 points) and the frontcourt combination of Hernandez and Brissett, who went a combined 9-for-25 for 21 points. Still, the drive to the finish was highly entertaining.

Next up, the 905 have games against Fort Wayne, Long Island (yes, again), and Windy City every other day starting Saturday.