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Westchester Knicks v Raptors 905

Dial 905: Raptors 905 sweep Westchester Knicks in back-to-back games

The Raptors 905 survived Westchester Knicks’ James Akinjo and MJ Walker’s 1-2 punch, handing them back-to-back losses en route to a 3-1 Showcase Cup start.

Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

Eric Khoury’s Raptors 905 is starting to gel, and we’re starting to see some excellent results. The preference to get into early transition remains, as they have excellent point-of-attack defenders in Saben Lee, Jeff Dowtin Jr., and Christian Vital. They also have young and athletic legs to run the passing lanes, with Ron Harper Jr. showing his open-court game.

In the half-court, Khoury is using Reggie Perry to kickstart the offense. Perry’s responded, showcasing his budding playmaking skills that look like it will improve with experience reading his teammates’ movements and how the defense reacts to them. Then you have Gabe Brown providing perimeter shooting as a release valve in the half-court. Oh, and let’s not forget about Jeff Dowtin Jr., who’s been biding his time throughout the game, and will lean forward with his controller when the team needs him to take over.

The visiting Westchester Knicks offered a different problem for the Raptors 905, who were previously bullied by the Capital City Go-Go’s bigs. The Knicks’ size is closer to the Raptors 905’s, and they fly up and down the court, with the 6’1” (arguably) James Akinjo as the head of the snake and the Knicks’ engine. It’s crazy that the Knicks’ best player is not tied to a contract with the Knicks’ main club (Akinjo), AND their second-best player is also not bound to a contract with the main club AND comes off the bench (MJ Walker).

The weekend games showed a lot of highlights, from Lee’s pick-sixes, Dowtin Jr.’s clutch offense, Harper Jr.’s bully ball, and Perry’s buzzer-beater. Harper Jr. got his career-high 21 points on the front end of the back-to-back but missed the second game due to a personal matter. However, we shouldn’t stop at that, as the games also showed the team’s resilience and coach Eric Khoury’s in-game adjustments and play calls at the end of games.

Unfortunately, Justin Champagnie still hasn’t debuted for the Raptors 905 this season, but at least they got Obadiah Noel back last weekend.

Let’s look at how the games went.

Showcase Cup Game 03: Raptors 905 outlast Westchester Knicks in the fourth, 122-115

Starters

Raptors 905: Jeff Dowtin Jr., Saben Lee, Ron Harper Jr., Gabe Brown, Reggie Perry

Westchester Knicks: James Akinjo, Trevor Keels, Quinton Rose, Feron Hunt, Garrison Brooks

Assignee(s)

Raptors 905: Jeff Dowtin Jr. (TW), Ron Harper Jr. (TW), Justin Champagnie (NBA) (DNP - INJ)

Westchester Knicks: Feron Hunt (TW), Trevor Keels (TW)

The Raptors 905 opened at home with a victory, beating the Westchester Knicks 122-115. The game was a sprint for the most part, with both teams eager to run and gun at all times. Saben Lee’s strong two-way play led the Raptors 905 with 25 points, five assists, and four steals. Jeff Dowtin Jr. took over in pockets in the second half, adding 23 points and eight assists. Reggie Perry had a strong start but fizzled out a bit. If anything, he made excellent passes and reads, leading to 21 points, ten rebounds, and six assists. Ron Harper Jr. took advantage of the open court and notched his career-high 21 points, and ten rebounds, including a clutch assist to Dowtin Jr. to ice the game.

James Akinjo led the Knicks with 19 points and 14 assists, with Feron Hunt enjoying those passes en route to 21 points. However, MJ Walker came off the bench and dropped six trifectas, leading all scorers with 29 points.

It looks like the Raptors 905’s chemistry is getting better by the day, as they finally had a good start, racing off to an early 20-10 lead, with Reggie Perry leading the way. However, James Akinjo’s fingerprints were all over the place for the Knicks, as he scored or assisted on the team’s 10 of their first 14 points. MJ Walker came off the bench late in the quarter and started dropping perimeter bombs, helping the Knicks end the quarter on a 17-6 run to take a 36-32 lead.

The Raptors 905’s transition lineup struggled to start the second quarter, and the Knicks took advantage, with Akinjo’s layup giving them a 50-38 lead. That’s when Saben Lee’s remarkable two-way game took over, as his personal 8-3 run, including his stout defense, pushed the Raptors 905 to within 53-48. A late rally by Jeff Dowtin Jr., Gabe Brown, and Ron Harper Jr cut the Knicks’ lead to 62-59 at the half.

The second half saw the Raptors 905 turn their half-court defense and pace up a notch, but the Knicks were just as eager to get into early transition, whether it’s turnovers, misses, or even makes. Akinjo was getting his way with his playmaking, but Dowtin Jr. started to heat up, putting up 14 points in the quarter. His floater put the Raptors 905 within 76-74, but Akinjo’s in the midst of a playmaking masterclass, scoring or assisting on seven of the Knicks’ 10 points to give the Knicks some breathing room. However, with no Akinjo on the floor, Dowtin Jr’s late barrage en route to a 12-5 run to end the quarter gave the Raptors 905 a 93-91 lead.

Both teams traded haymakers, turnovers, and lousy transition defense in the fourth quarter, with Ryan Hawkins providing the spark for the Raptors 905. Knicks’ Trevor Keels’ nightmare game turned even darker in the fourth, allowing the Raptors 905 to keep a two-possession lead for the most part. Kenny Wooten’s and-1 gave the Raptors 905 a 111-101 lead with less than five minutes to go, but Akinjo and Walker kept the Knicks in the game. Walker’s trifecta cut the Raptors 905’s lead to 115-112, but the fourth quarter was Dowtin Jr.’s time, and his shotmaking and playmaking halted the Knicks’ late rally.

Showcase Cup Game 04: Raptors 905’s Reggie Perry’s sinks the Knicks at the buzzer, def Knicks 109-108

Starters

Raptors 905: Jeff Dowtin Jr., Saben Lee, Kenny Wooten, Gabe Brown, Reggie Perry

Westchester Knicks: James Akinjo, Trevor Keels, Quinton Rose, Feron Hunt, Garrison Brooks

Assignee(s)

Raptors 905: Jeff Dowtin Jr. (TW), Ron Harper Jr. (TW) (DNP - Personal), Justin Champagnie (NBA) (DNP - INJ)

Westchester Knicks: Feron Hunt (TW), Trevor Keels (TW)

The Raptors 905 had to dig deep to eke out a 109-108 win at the buzzer against the Westchester Knicks in their second weekend game. Saben Lee led the Raptors 905 with 25 points, five assists, two steals, and two blocks. However, it was Jeff Dowtin Jr. who fueled the comeback, coming alive in the fourth quarter, finishing with 17 points, five assists, and three blocks. Reggie Perry worked his way back to form throughout the game, finishing with 17 points, and atoned for his ten turnovers with the game-winner at the buzzer.

MJ Walker led the knicks with 25 points off the bench, while the Raptors 905 managed to slow down James Akinjo, who finished with 11 points and 15 assists, many of whom ended up on Garrison Brooks, who had 24 points and 17 boards.

Despite the loss the day before, the Westchester Knicks came out gunning early, jumping to an early 13-4 lead, as Reggie Perry had another slow start offensively. The Raptors 905 did a better job taking James Akinjo’s shot away, but Akinjo’s too good of a playmaker, dissecting the defense by finding open teammates for easy shots. Gabe Brown and Saben Lee carried the offense early, combining for 15 of the team’s first 17 points, but the transition lineup could not get the Raptors 905 any closer, as the first period ended with the Westchester Knicks up 30-25.

David Johnson sparked a 12-1 run to start the second frame with a 37-31 lead, as the Raptors 905 took advantage of a rare struggle by Akinjo to get the Knicks’ offense going. However, Akinjo’s playmaking would return back to normal, and the Knicks would outscore the Raptors 905 23-13 the rest of the way, taking a 54-50 lead at the half, despite Perry’s offense coming alive late in the quarter.

The Raptors 905 got off to another slow start to open the second half, coming out with 2-for-9 shooting while letting Garrison Brooks get to the basket unimpeded as he got his 20th point midway through the third frame. What’s worse, as if the team didn’t see this coming based on their matchup the night before, they let MJ Walker come off the bench again and score in bunches from the perimeter. Walker’s trifecta gave the Knicks a commanding 71-59 lead, and the Raptors had to settle with a 79-68 deficit at the end of the third quarter.

The Knicks were threatening to blow the game wide open to start the final frame, but that’s when Jeff Dowtin Jr. rolled up his sleeves and pretty much said, “I got this.” Dowtin Jr. scored or assisted on nine of the Raptors 905’s first eleven points to keep the Knicks within striking distance, leading to a playoff atmosphere midway through the fourth. Dowtin Jr.’s three-pointer pulled the Raptors 905 within six, but Keels and Brooks found their way to the basket to push the Knicks’ lead to 100-90 with 4:30 left. Melvin Frazier Jr. led a 12-0 run, capped off by an impressive two-way work by Dowtin Jr.’ who blocked MJ Walker’s three-pointer on one end and came down with a pull-up trifecta on the other, giving the Raptors 905 a 102-100 lead.

Akinjo called for his own number and hit a lefty high-arcing layup to tie the game, but Dowtin Jr. found Perry for a three-pointer, putting the Raptors up 105-102 with two minutes remaining. Knicks’ Walker got to the basket for an and-1 to potentially tie the game with 27 seconds remaining, but he missed the freebie. Lee split his free throws but forced Akinjo to turn the ball over with 12 seconds remaining, and he headed back to the line, this time sinking both freebies to give them a 108-104 lead.

The game should be over, right? Well, Walker got fouled attempting a perimeter shot, and the three free throws put the Knicks within 108-107 with nine seconds left. The Knicks wisely sent Lee to the line again, and he missed both freebies; Brooks secured the rebound, quickly got it to Akinjo, and, much like Kyle Lowry, grifted for freebies with two seconds left. Akinjo made both, putting the Knicks up 109-108 with two seconds left.

Coach Khoury called for a timeout, and it looked like the Knicks busted the first two options that the Raptors 905 wanted, but the switch-heavy defense that the Knicks employ saw the smallest guy on the floor in Akinjo, switched up to Perry, who flared to the strong side, and made a long two to win at the buzzer!

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