The Raptors 905 appear to have their roster set for the next little while. Since the trade that brought in Henry Ellenson to play in the post, they’ve settled into a steady rotation and are staying competitive in games.
This week, they got a win over the Lakeland Magic and lost to the Stockton Kings, splitting a relatively quiet seven days that precedes a make-it-or-break-it stretch for the 15-20 905 — the game against Stockton set off a stretch of seven home games in nine overall.
With Paramount Fine Foods Centre in (sorry) fine form yesterday, chanting “MVP” for Ellenson and generally providing a good time, there’s plenty of reason to feel positive. The 905 have marched quietly up the standings since the holidays. Now’s the time for them to start sprinting.
Can last week teach us anything about what’s to come? Let’s look back in Dial 905.
Friday, February 7 at Lakeland Magic
It’s been a funny season for 905 point guard Tyler Ennis, who has been the starter for this team in almost every game. His inconsistency is frustrating at times, but every so often he’ll come up and break the back of the team the Raptors are playing against. That was the case last Friday against the Lakeland Magic, as Ennis dropped 30 points on 19 shots, including a deadly 4-for-6 from three, to earn the game high and spark a narrow win for the 905.
The Raptors needed every one of Ennis’ points, because they barely avoided a wild comeback from the Magic. Lakeland won the second half by 15 points and, if given even five more seconds, would’ve had a shot to win the game. Josh Magette hit a three for Lakeland with 2.4 seconds left to bring them within two. Ennis proceeded to miss two free throws after the intentional foul, but time was too short for Lakeland to get a shot off. Tough!
The 905 will take it though. Their bench was relatively quiet in this one, but the starters did enough to lift that up. Devin Robinson was super efficient to get his 23 points, making 8-of-11 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. He also added 12 rebounds for a double-double, three of them on the offensive glass.
The pairing of Robinson and Oshae Brissett — who we know can tear them down on the offensive end — next to Ellenson in the frontcourt is starting to gel for the 905. The three of them combined for 58 of the 905’s 117 points in the game, tallying seven OREB altogether.
Wednesday, February 12 vs. Stockton Kings
While the 905 got away with a poor close against Lakeland, they had no such luck against the Stockton Kings. Again with a double digit lead after three quarters (ten points), they withered in the fourth, as Stockton would get a go ahead bucket with 2:27 from Cody Demps and ended up earning the win down the stretch.
The 905 had two critical turnovers, which didn’t help matters, as their 23 turnovers in the game hurt an otherwise efficient night from the field: 51% shooting to be exact.
Balanced scoring also made an appearance, as the Raptors got double digit scoring from seven players — led by Henry Ellenson’s 19. Ennis added 14 points but shot just 5-for-13, while Duane Notice had 13 and Jawun Evans had 12 off the bench.
Poor outside shooting did hurt the 905 overall, especially in a game where they seemed to be scoring at will in the paint. They shot just 5-for-32 as a team, with only Ellenson making triples among the starting lineup. The other four were a combined 0-for-8. Compare that with 11-for-32 from the Kings, and it did make a big difference.
Next up for the 905 is a game against the Westchester Knicks tonight, before home games against Maine and Fort Wayne on Saturday and Tuesday.