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Dial 905: Holiday struggles highlighted by close games

The 905 had two difficult losses at the G League Winter Showcase, but got a win quickly after to salvage the break.

Greensboro Swarm v Mississauga Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

It could’ve been a better holiday for Raptors 905. In a two-week span that began at the G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas and ended with a pair of home games against Greensboro and Agua Caliente, the 905 got just one win and continue to sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings at 7-11.

For those with a more holistic view, though, things aren’t so bleak. The 905 are finally getting healthy, with Devin Robinson returning in time for the G League Showcase (on a minutes restriction) and Sagaba Konate — the West Virginia product — playing his first action since the first week in yesterday’s game against Agua Caliente.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the two-week period that was.

Friday, December 20 at Santa Cruz Warriors

Final:
Raptors 109
Warriors 110

When Matt Morgan hit a three to put the 905 up six with 3:49 left, the Raptors probably thought they were rock solid — just needing to do what was necessary to finish off a Showcase win.

Unfortunately, the 905 would go without a basket after that point, as the Santa Cruz Warriors ended on a 7-0 run to get the win. It was an unfortunate finish to a low-scoring fourth quarter (20-19 Raptors), as the 905 squandered an excellent game from Justin Anderson, who had 30 points on 15 shots, including a 6-for-10 night from distance.

The hot shooting extended to the 905’s guards, as Tyler Ennis had an 8-for-13 game from the field for 17 points, while Paul Watson had 19 on 13 shots, including 3-for-7 from deep.

The team’s 44% game from three-point land couldn’t push them over the top at the end of the game, though. Ennis had two turnovers and a missed shot in the last 30 seconds, while Jeremy Pargo put the Warriors up with free throws at the end. Nick Zeisloft led the way for Santa Cruz with 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Sunday, December 22 at Sioux Falls Skyforce

Final:
Raptors 106
Skyforce 108

The return of Devin Robinson gave a boost to the 905 in their final G League Winter Showcase game against Sioux Falls, as the big man played 25 minutes and scored 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Unfortunately, late game execution was again an Achilles heel for the 905. Matt Morgan was fouled on a three-point shot with seven seconds left, a lifeline for a Raptors team down four, and hit all three free throws. The 905 then executed a perfect intentional foul, as just 0.6 seconds came off the clock, which the Skyforce then split.

With the ball with 6.6 seconds left and a chance to win the game, the 905 couldn’t get a shot off — a disappointing finish.

On the bright side, the outside shooting of Paul Watson continued to impress — and surely left an impression on the NBA scouts in the audience who will start consulting with their teams about 10-day contracts. Watson was 4-for-8 in the game from distance to help get him to 18 points, as the small forward leads the G League in three-point percentage.

With Watson and Robinson leading the scoring, we’d be remiss not to mention Morgan’s contributions — a 5-for-6 shooting night off the bench for 15 points.

Saturday, December 28 vs. Greensboro Swarm

Final:
Swarm 106
Raptors 120

After a week off, the 905 looked refreshed and ready to get back in the win column on Saturday at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre. Three players eclipsed the 20-point mark on their way to a win over Greensboro.

The 905 were led by Devin Robinson, still on a minutes restriction but inserted into the starting lineup. The big man had a monster game in just 21 minutes on the floor, putting in 10-of-17 shots for 26 points, five assists, two rebounds, and marking a +18. With Oshae Brissett and Dewan Hernandez both called up, the return of Robinson really came in the nick of time for the 905 — as they were able to ride his big game.

It was also impressive to see the 905 come back from down double digits, even it was early on. Down 28-18 after one, the Raptors won the second quarter 39-27 and the third quarter 33-23 on their way to building a double-digit lead of their own.

Besides Robinson’s big game, the 905 got 25 points from Justin Anderson (9-for-14) and 20 from Paul Watson (3-of-11 from three).

Wednesday, January 1 vs. Agua Caliente Clippers

Final:
Clippers 110
Raptors 93

New Year’s Day doesn’t shine the best light on a lot of us, and the 905 suffered that fate yesterday against the Clippers. Shooting just 7-for-28 from three-point range really hampered the 905’s ability to stay in this one, as the Clippers outscored the Raptors by 15 in the second half on their way to a 17-point win.

Justin Anderson and Shamorie Ponds were probably the lone bright spots for the 905 in this one. Anderson’s efficiency continues to be a bright spot for the 905, as he made 10-of-20 shots and grabbed 14 rebounds on his way to 25 points. Ponds, meanwhile, played 22 minutes off the bench and scored 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting.

Oshae Brissett returned to the 905 for this game, but failed to make a basket on eight attempts, unable to replicate some of those high energy plays we saw for the NBA Raptors in his minutes against Boston last week.

This week, the 905 make the short drive to Grand Rapids for a road game against the Drive on Saturday before returning home for a game against Erie on Monday.