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Raptors 905 v Cleveland Charge

Dial 905: Raptors 905 are the G-League’s top team after a perfect week

It was a light week with only two games on their schedule, but the Raptors 905 took care of business nonetheless.

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA G League is halfway through its season, and guess who’s at the top of the standings? It’s the Raptors 905! Not just the top of the East, they are the best team in the league right now, with a 13-4 record after a perfect 2-0 road trip last week. The Raptors 905 may not have the top-tier talent that some of the G League teams have, but this team is deep in hard-nosed two-way players, and then we have Jodie Meeks, who’ll hit 1-2 threes per game easily.

The Raptors 905 went to Cleveland with a short-handed bench, as Breein Tyree, Justin Smith, and Jodie Meeks missed the game due to Health and Safety Protocols. But no need to worry, as Justin “Ray Allen” Champagnie took care of business, dropping five three-pointers en route to his game-high 27 points. The Cleveland Charge failed to take advantage of Tacko Fall’s size advantage, and it was pretty much garbage time for most of the second half.

The Raptors 905 then headed to Delaware to face the Blue Coats, who handed them a beating before going on their road trip. They caught a break as the Blue Coats were missing their key players, as Paul Reed was not on assignment, and Jaden Springer got banged up a couple of times which shut him down for the game. Well, you play who’s in front of you, so it’s a professional win for the Raptors 905.

Now, on to the games!

Raptors 905 sweep Cleveland Charge via Justin Champagnie’s Hot Perimeter Shooting

February 8, 2022, @ Wolstein Centre (Cleveland), Raptors 905 def Cleveland Charge, 110-99

Starters

Raptors 905: Kevon Harris, Isaac Bonga (NBA), David Johnson (2W), Aaron Best, Justin Champagnie (2W)

Cleveland Charge: RJ Nembhard Jr (2W), Justin James, Trevon Scott, Tacko Fall, Dylan Windler (NBA)

Assignees

Raptors 905: Isaac Bonga (NBA), David Johnson (2W), Justin Champagnie (2W)

Cleveland Charge: RJ Nembhard Jr (2W), Brandon Goodwin (2W), Dylan Windler (NBA)

When one of the best teams faces the league’s worst team, odds are the best team will win. Such was the case when the Raptors 905 faced the Cleveland Charge, and the game became a glorified shooting practice for Toronto’s Justin Champagnie, who dropped 27 points, including five three-pointers.

The small front-court of Isaac Bonga, Justin Champagnie, and Kevon Harris withstood the Tacko Fall experience. Still, it wasn’t until a mid-to-late second-quarter run before the Raptors 905 got some separation. Josh Hall finally looked healthy and was in his bag, scoring all of his career-high 13 points in the second period.

Champagnie turned it up to start the second half, catching fire from behind the arc, going 5-for-6 for 15 points in the third frame. His marksmanship pushed the lead to as much as 25 points late in the third period, and it was garbage time from thereon. The Charge forced coach Mutombo to field some of his starters back late in the fourth period, as the Charge went on a 22-8 run to bring the lead down to 101-93. What’s impressive is that the starters’ defense, not the offense, that doused cold water to the Charge’s comeback attempt.

Isaac Bonga added 14 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists while shooting 4-for-8 from behind the arc. It was a good sign for Bonga, who shot 4-for-24 from behind the arc over the past seven games. David Johnson had an inefficient 12 points on 17 shots but had a couple of excellent blocks to go with it. Obadiah Noel had his best game since coming back from Health & Safety Protocols, putting up 17 points, with 10 of them in the fourth.

Malik Newman led the Charge with 20 points off the bench, while Tacko Fall added 17 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. Cleveland assignee Dylan Windler left the game early after taking a nasty spill in the first quarter.

Raptors 905 get their revenge against the Delaware Blue Coats

February 12, 2022, @ Chase Fieldhouse (Delaware), Raptors 905 def Delaware Blue Coats, 109-104

Starters

Raptors 905: Isaac Bonga (NBA), David Johnson (2W), Justin Champagnie (2W)

Delaware Blue Coats: Jaden Springer (NBA), Aaron Henry, Braxton Key, Jared Brownridge, Shaquille Harrison

Assignees

Raptors 905: Isaac Bonga (NBA), David Johnson (2W), Justin Champagnie (2W)

Delaware Blue Coats: Jaden Springer (NBA), Myles Powell (2W)

It was the Raptors 905’s turn to go to the Delaware Blue Coats’ homecourt and come up with a close win. The visiting team led comfortably for most of the game, leading by as much as 11 points, but they just failed to get that one run to pull away. Instead, they allowed the Blue Coats to take the lead late in the fourth, only to return the favour and choke it back.

The Raptors 905 leaned on Aaron Best’s career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, leading a balanced attack that includes another strong bench performance. Breein Tyree’s 11 points paced the bench mob’s 35 points, but it was Isaac Bonga’s versatile game that caused plenty of problems for the Blue Coats.

Bonga was all over the floor on both ends, and his 14 points, 20 rebounds (career-high), three steals, two assists, and a block were a testament to that. Bonga could be playing centre defensively, and he would grab the rebound and initiate the transition offense. Or coach Patrick Mutombo would call for his number to break down the Blue Coats’ defense to open up opportunities while playing point of attack defense when the possessions switch. Bonga didn’t have a good shooting night, going 0-5 from the perimeter and 4-10 in the paint, but he was against several defenders.

Unlike their previous meeting, the Raptors 905 punched first, setting the tone up 10-2 early. They were much more prepared for the Blue Coats’ appetite for transition plays and were the aggressors early. Paul Reed’s presence was felt early and throughout the game, as the Raptors 905 out-rebounded and out-hustled the Blue Coats for the most part. Unfortunately, the Raptors 905’s poor perimeter shooting and turnovers caught up to them, as the Blue Coats made one last push in the fourth quarter, going on a 20-6 run to take a 98-95 lead with less than five minutes left.

The Raptors 905 leaned on their rebounding and some luck down the stretch, as the Blue Coats missed several wide-open shots and failed to secure key possessions to finish their comeback. The end game became a battle of attrition at the free-throw line.

Toronto’s Justin Champagnie and David Johnson had a rough game. Champagnie had 13 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, but he was 3-for-11 from the field and had six turnovers. Johnson was plagued by foul trouble and could not get going offensively. He finished with nine points before fouling out in the fourth. Blue Coats’ assignee Jaden Springer played 11 minutes, turning his ankle in the first quarter, only to tweak it to start the second half. Shaquille Harrison led all scorers with 24 points while Braxton Key stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.

Up Next: The Raptors 905 look to go undefeated during this road trip, as they close off the current trip against the Westchester Knicks this coming Wednesday.

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