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Dial 905: Raptors 905 deliver their worst and best defensive performances of the season

The Raptors 905 split their Showcase series against the Capital City Go-Go to keep their Showcase Cup hopes alive.

Capital City Go-Go v Mississauga Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors are in the middle of a 7-game homestand, so it’s automatic for the main club to send reinforcements to their developmental team — which is exactly what they did in their recent Showcase series matchup with the Capital City Go-Go. Coincidentally, the Go-Go’s mother club was in town as well, so the Washington Wizards’ developmental team crossed the border with a stacked lineup.

The reeling Raptors 905 came into this home series on a three-game losing streak, with only two-way contract player David Johnson as the lone assignee during that stretch. The Raptors assigned Justin Champagnie and Dalano Banton for the front end of their series with the Go-Gos. Sadly, Champagnie’s breakout game of 34 points and nine rebounds were not enough to stop the Go-Gos, as Capital City dispatched the 905 128-109.

After the Toronto Raptors exacted revenge against the Washington Wizards, they sent down Malachi Flynn, Isaac Bonga, Dalano Banton, and Justin Champagnie to help snap the 905’s four-game losing streak and keep their Showcase Cup dream alive.

Capital City punched them in the mouth early, as Wizards rookie Isaiah Todd splashed four three-pointers in a row, running up the score to 20-0 to start the game. It took coach Patrick Mutombo a couple of timeouts before getting what he wanted: defense, defensive intensity, and more defense. Next thing you know, the Raptors 905 were up early in the second quarter and pulled away in the fourth, splitting the series, 120-113.

Capital City Go-Go’s hot perimeter shooting burns Raptors 905

December 4, 2021, Capital City Go-Go def Raptors 905 128-109

Starters

Raptors 905: David Johnson (TW), Obadiah Noel, Justin Champagnie (TW), Dalano Banton (NBA), Reggie Perry

Go-Go: Cassius Winston (TW), Joel Ayayi (TW), Isaiah Todd (NBA), Jordan Schakel, Jaime Echenique

Assignees

Raptors 905: David Johnson (TW), Justin Champagnie (TW), Dalano Banton (NBA),

Go-Go: Cassius Winston (TW), Joel Ayayi (TW), Isaiah Todd (NBA)

The Raptors 905 turned the ball over, blew rotations, and turned the ball over some more. Rinse and repeat. Not only that, but they also gave the Capital City Go-Go a nexus lane treatment to the basket while giving out wide-open perimeter shots as well. When it was all said and done, it was another bad loss for the Raptors 905, losing to the Go-Gos, 109-128.

Justin Champagnie had a triumphant return to the Paramount Fine Foods Centre as he dropped 34 points, nine rebounds, and three steals. Reggie Perry shook off a horrible start and finished the game with a yeoman’s work of 23 points, 19 rebounds, and four assists. Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough, as David Johnson was non-existent for most of the game offensively. Dalano Banton was inefficient at best and wildly erratic for most of the game, despite finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

The Go-Gos shot 56% from the field, including 14-for-30 (47%) behind the arc. Former G League Ignite phenom Isaiah Todd led the Paramount Fine Foods invasion with 23 points on 4-of-7 perimeter shooting. It was a solid team effort for the Go-Gos, consistently finding the open man on the offensive end while making life difficult for the Raptors 905’s offense. The constant ball pressure forced many Raptors 905 turnovers, but there were a lot more unforced turnovers that would drive any coach crazy.

The Raptors 905 lost the battle of the bench again, getting outscored 41-10. Ashton Hagans provided some defense and playmaking, but overall, the bench was either fouling a lot or turning the ball over when they were out there.

Justin Champagnie went toe-to-toe with the Capital City Go-Gos, scoring 9 of the Raptors 905’s first 12 points. However, the Go-Gos would go on a 13-2 run, capitalizing on the Raptors 905’s porous defense and sloppy ball handling. Wizards Joel Ayayi and Isaiah Todd would combine for 17 points to give the Go-Gos a 40-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Raptors 905 would sleepwalk for a few more minutes into the second quarter, as the Go-Gos looked in control of the game and about to blow this game wide open, leading 48-33. The Raptors 905 would tighten things up over the next four minutes, as Reggie Perry would get out of his slump and join forces with Champagnie to help the Raptors go on a 20-4 run. The Raptors 905 briefly held the lead, 53-52.

The game was over when: The Raptors 905 failed to keep the same intensity to start the second half. Unfortunately, that stretch in the second half was the last stand for coach Patrick Mutombo and his 905ers. Their good defense was unsustainable while giving the ball away as easily as the Lindt sampling attendant at the store continued in the second half.

Raptors 905 rediscover their defensive identity just in time

December 6, 2021, Raptors 905 def Capital City Go-Go 120-113

Starters

Raptors 905: Malachi Flynn (NBA), David Johnson (TW), Isaac Bonga (NBA), Justin Champagnie (TW), Reggie Perry

Go-Go: Cassius Winston (TW), Joel Ayayi (TW), Isaiah Todd (NBA), Jordan Schakel, Jaime Echenique

Assignees

Raptors 905: David Johnson (TW), Justin Champagnie (TW), Dalano Banton (NBA), Malachi Flynn (NBA), Isaac Bonga (NBA)

Go-Go: Cassius Winston (TW), Joel Ayayi (TW), Isaiah Todd (NBA)

The Raptors 905 were fortunate to wake up and smell the coffee before it was too late, as they turned on their staunch defense just in time to overwhelm the Capital City Go-Go, winning 120-113. The Go-Gos looked like they were about to win this game early, racing to a quick 20-0 lead, despite the Raptors 905’s additional reinforcements in Malachi Flynn and Isaac Bonga. It took coach Mutombo a couple of timeouts before eventually benching Flynn, David Johnson, and Justin Champagnie, looking for better defensive intensity.

The ragtag group of Isaac Bonga-Reggie Perry-Dalano Banton-Obadiah Noel-Breein Tyree-Ashton Hagans held the Go-Go to eight points in almost 12 minutes, erasing the big lead and making their own 34-8 run in the process. During this run, I was thinking whether to tweet “Do not pass Go, and do not collect $200” as it looked like the Go-Go’s offense went directly to jail.

The Go-Gos were all-over Banton’s scouting report on their previous game, and kudos to coach Mutombo for changing things up this time around. For one, Banton came off the bench, and there was a conscious effort in establishing variety on how he was getting his shots. Flynn started at the point guard spot, and he was ineffective at best, leading to an early trip to the bench. However, his return was a different story.

The Go-Go’s defense was in panic mode whenever Flynn decided to collapse their defense by aggressively getting into the paint. His effort often led to defensive breakdowns and easier shots for his teammates. Flynn did not shoot well — an inefficient 21 points on 7/21 shooting. He hunted for his perimeter shots, but he was much more effective getting into the paint aside from one four-point play.

Reggie Perry had another stellar game, scoring 23 points in 11 shots while grabbing nine boards and DHO-ing five dimes. Perry and Flynn carried the Raptors 905’s offense through the third quarter, setting the table for Banton to close the fourth with a bang. In the final frame, Banton played with a personal vendetta against the Go-Gos, looking unstoppable as he dropped 17 points to help the Raptors 905 put the game away.

Isaac Bonga had a “quiet” yet efficient 16 points on 7-10 shooting — including 2 3PM, while also adding eight rebounds and four steals. But perhaps the unsung hero of the morning was Ashton Hagans, who came in early in the game and helped set the tone defensively. He did not relent throughout the game, as he was a game-high +30 in 18 minutes. He added 10 points, four assists, and three steals while causing many problems for the Go-Gos just by sticking his nose all over the floor. Cassius Winston led the Go-Gos with 25 points and 8 assists, while Todd was in pure Channing Frye form with 22 points with 6 3PM.

The game was over when: The Raptors were up 111-99 with five-and-a-half minutes left in the game, and Banton forced Cassius Winston to turn the ball over, with Hagans wisely tipping the ball to Banton for a pick-six.

Up Next: The Raptors 905 hit the road and visit the Maine Red Claws for the next leg of their Showcase series.