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Raptors 905 v Capital City GoGo

Dial 905: Raptors 905 start the season with a split against Capital City Go-Go despite the rough start

The Raptors 905 opened the season with a baseball series against Capital City Go-Go with a split, despite playing horribly in at least six of the eight quarters.

Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Coach Eric Khoury and his Raptors 905 opened their NBA G League campaign with a split in Washington D.C., overcoming a 24-point deficit to win their debut over the Capital City Go-Go, 110-107, but running out of gas the following day, getting blown out 125-107.

It was a tough initial matchup for the new coach and almost an entirely new Raptors 905 team. They faced a Capital City Go-Go with an advantage with continuity, with their returning head coach Mike Williams, and six of their core players from last season. On the flip side, the Raptors 905 only had two of the four returning players see time for this baseball series, with Reggie Perry the lone returnee to play both games.

It also doesn’t help that the Go-Go’s got the talent advantage. They have Krus Dunn, a 2016th 5th pick by the Chicago Bulls. They also had a bunch of players from the main club: Jordan Schakel (TW), Vernon Carey Jr. (2020, 32nd pick), and Johnny Davis (2022, 19th pick). The Go-Go’s also got the size advantage, with four players (Isaiah Todd, Makur Maker, Theo John, and Vernon Carey Jr.) who are at least Perry’s size, if not bigger.

Despite that, the Raptors 905 retained the “never say die” DNA they adopted last season.

Showcase Cup Game 01: Raptors 905 open their season with a 24-point comeback win against Capital City Go-Go, 110-107

Starters

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

Capital City Go-Go: Devon Dotson, Craig Sword, Jordan Schakel, Isaiah Todd, Vernon Carey

Assignee(s)

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

Capital City Go-Go: Johnny Davis (NBA), Vernon Carey Jr. (NBA), Isaiah Todd (NBA), Jordan Schakel (TW)

With the exception of Ron Harper Jr.’s sweet-looking pull-up three to start the game, things were so bad in the first half — the Raptors 905 could not get into their offense, and often, they were relegated to ISO ball by their lead guards and Reggy Perry. Defensively, the Go-Gos exposed their lack of size, as their bigs exposed them in the paint and on the boards, and their team defense was non-existent. The Go-Go’s guards routinely collapsed the defense, but the point of attack did not offer that much resistance.

The offense had to be carried by Jeff Dowtin Jr., who routinely got to his spots in the midrange. He had some help from Ron Harper Jr., who waxed hot in the second half, playing bully ball en route to 8 points in that period. However, Reggie Perry had one of his ugly starts, going for 2-11, having two turnovers, and getting into foul trouble. Whatever the 905 were running offensively in the first half, it wasn’t on the Raptors’ playbook.

The Go-Go built a 53-29 lead with around four-and-a-half minutes remaining, but the Raptors 905 scrapped their way once they started to push the pace and provided better resistance in the paint to finish the half, cutting the lead to 63-44.

Now, here came coach Eric Khoury’s first real acid-test coaching moment.

Despite the late run that the Raptors 905 made in the first half, it felt like the Go-Go was still in control of the game. Whatever pep-talk or adjustments Khoury made during halftime, well, that worked like a sports movie.

The Raptors 905 opened the second half with a stout defense, scrappy point-of-attack, and a swarming defense that we’re accustomed to seeing, whether it was last year’s Raptors 905, or this year’s Toronto Raptors. Just like the main club, they pushed the tempo, whether it was off live-ball turnovers, misses, or sometimes, even makes.

Perry’s and-1 capped off a 12-0 run to start the half, as the Raptors 905 cut the lead to three. Carey Jr. remained a thorn in the Raptors 905’s side, and he managed to keep the Go-Go’s lead to at least two possessions a few times and kept the Raptors 905’s transition lineup in the halfcourt, and the offence got stagnant. The free-flowing pace worked better for Perry, shaking off a horrible first half with nine points on five attempts in this frame.

The sloppy offense and defense reared their ugly head again to start the fourth, until Gabe Brown led a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three. But Carey Jr. wouldn’t let the Go-Go surrender the lead. That’s when Dowtin Jr. took over, as he methodically ISO’d his defender in consecutive possessions to tie the game, and Saben Lee snagged a pick-six on Devon Dotson to take the lead and the dub. Crazy game, where the Raptors 905 only led for less than a minute!

Jeff Dowtin Jr. led all scorers with 28 points and six assists, while Ron Harper Jr. added 18 points, six rebounds and two steals. Saben Lee had a solid debut, 20 points and four steals. Reggie Perry overcame his slump, notching 23 points and 10 boards. Vernon Carey Jr. paced the Capital City Go-Go with 21 points and 10 boards but barely touched the ball when the Raptors 905 made a push in the fourth period. The Capital City Go-Go bench outscored their counterparts 57-6. Justin Champagnie, Obadiah Noel, and David Johnson were inactive for this game for various injuries.

Showcase Cup Game 02: Raptors 905 run out of gas in the second half, get smoked by Capital City Go-Go, 125-107

Starters

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

Capital City Go-Go: Devon Dotson, Kris Dunn, Jordan Schakel, Isaiah Todd, Vernon Carey

Assignee(s)

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

Capital City Go-Go: Johnny Davis (NBA), Vernon Carey Jr. (NBA), Isaiah Todd (NBA), Jordan Schakel (TW)

The Raptors 905 opened the game looking more cohesive than their season debut, but could not maintain it the entire game, as wheels quickly fell off the wagon in the second half. The Capital City Go-Go quickly pounced on the opportunity, and the visitors never recovered, losing 125-107.

Reggie Perry got off to another slow start, but at least the defense kept the Go-Go in check early, and both teams appeared to be in a stalemate midway through the first period. That’s when the Raptors 905’s bench mob showed signs of life, as Christian Vital and Ryan Hawkins contributed 15 of the team’s next 22 points to end the first quarter and give them a 33-28 lead after the first period.

Perry’s layup to start the second frame gave the Raptors 905 their biggest lead at seven, but things would start to go south for the visitors. David Johnson made his season debut, and he found a cutting Ron Harper Jr. for his only make of the game. Vital and Brown tried to keep the Raptors 905 ahead, but a 14-6 run by the Go-Go to end the half took the lead for good at 56-53.

In the second half, fatigue magnified everything bad with the Raptors 905’s offense and defense. Defensively, the starters need to be more disciplined to get back on defense, even on their misses. On the half-court, the Raptors 905 made Jordan Schakel look like the Black Mamba going for 81 points. A 14-5 Go-Go run gave the hosts a 70-58 lead early in the third frame, so coach Khoury turned to Vital for reinforcement. Vital sparked a 15-7 run to cut the lead to 77-73, but that was the only time they made Go-Go feel threatened in the second half.

The Go-Go stole the momentum back with an 11-4 to end the third period, building the lead back to eleven points. Johnson would come alive in the fourth, coming up with his own 5-0 run, and teaming up with Dowtin Jr. another time to cut the lead to three possessions a few times, but the Raptors 905 didn’t have enough juice both ways. Schakel and Carey Jr. were just too good, or rather, the entire Go-Go team was just a few notches better as they went on an 18-4 run to send this game into garbage time.

Christian Vital led all scorers with 24 points, including four trifectas, four steals, and at least two charges drawn. Dowtin Jr. had a quiet night, scoring 17 points, five assists, and two steals. Reggie Perry had a horrible game, finishing with 12 points but had to do it in 20 attempts, was in foul trouble for the most part, and could not put up resistance against the Go-Go’s bigs and their guards’ penetration. Outside of the bench possessions, the offense looked stagnant and was full of “my turn, your turn” between the key ball handlers and Perry. The Go-Gos had a much more balanced attack, with seven players in double figures, including Kris Dunn’s 19 points, 10 boards, and six assists.

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