Final Score | Raptors 905 119 – Westchester Knicks 116 | Box Score
Two Ways: David Johnson (905), Justin Champagnie (905)
On Assignment – Isaac Bonga (905), Dalano Banton (905 )
Inactive: Josh Hall (905), Ashton Hagans (905), Breein Tyree (905), Jericho Sims (Knicks), Luka Samnic (Knicks), Brandon Goodwin (Knicks)
A full house of familiar faces were in attendance for the 905’s second game against the Westchester Knicks on Friday night. Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malachi Flynn, Nick Nurse, and members of the Women’s National Team, including Natalie Achonwa were courtside while Dalano Banton, Justin Champagnie, David Johnson, and Isaac Bonga were starting the game; the third game in 3 days for Banton, who said he will never pass up an opportunity to hoop when asked about being assigned to the 905. The game didn’t have the same feel as the previous night, with the score often favouring Westchester as opposed to the blow out from the home opener. Still, the 905 managed to sweep the series after a last second steal from David Johnson put him at the line where he made both free throws, giving the 905 a 3 point win and dropping the Knicks’ record to 0 and 4.
Dalano Banton – Dalano Banton can hoop at every level, period. He has the unique ability to adjust his game not only to pace and tempo, but to level of play. A lot of NBA assignees or two-way players go down to the G League with the intention of getting theirs and theirs alone, often putting up stat lines that are empty outside of points. That wasn’t the case for Banton, whose 30 points were complimentary to his 7 rebounds and 9 assists. He didn’t show any instances of tunnel vision, instead he was constantly looking for his teammates, both old and new, and keeping it very much a team game.
Reggie Perry – Perry was the only starter who wasn’t on a two-way or on assignment from the parent club. His Summer League appearances were sporadic, so he probably had about as much familiarity with the starters as the rest of the team, but there wasn’t a single moment where he looked lost or out of place. He was active on the boards from beginning to end, and always in place to catch the lob or the hand-off, his chemistry surpassed only by his court vision.
End of Bench – When your starters become your bench, it is a luxury not afforded to NBA teams, but that’s that Raptors 905 basketball baby. The end of the bench, Kevon Harris in particular, saved the game in the fourth quarter. Harris exemplifies the small forward position, gobbling up rebounds and driving with force to the net. He grabbed 6 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, while shooting 100% from 3. The starters figured it out, for the most part, by the fourth quarter, but Harris was the difference maker.
Two-way Flow – The problem with sending down NBA assignees or two-way players is that it often disrupts the flow and chemistry that the G League squad has been building. NBA players, and rookies in particular, are trained to always be one step ahead, whereas G League players are taught to stay in the feel of the game in front of them. The mix of NBA mindset and G League learning curves created a disaster at both ends of the floor. While Bonga took his G League assignment in stride, Justin Champagnie was frequently ahead of his teammates on the pass or the shot, creating miscommunication and chaos. This is no fault of either Champagnie or the 905 as a whole, it’s just the most glaring problem when players are sent down on assignment. They’ve simply just learned differently.
Turnovers – The turnovers were coach Patrick Mutombo’s main sticking point on what needed to be fixed after game one. In both games the 905 finished with 22 turnovers. It isn’t that the adjustments weren’t made, it’s that it’s hard to teach a new squad to fix the mistakes of the old one. On the inbounds specifically, it was often difficult for the in-bounder to find exactly who to pass to, resulting in a 5 second violation and a number of BLOBs (blocks on inbounds) or steals for Westchester, and more turnovers that allowed the Knicks 13 fast-break points.
Missing Pieces – Both Alex Antetokounmpo and Andrew Rowsey were DNPs with the addition of the assignees and two-ways. Rowsey specifically was a key factor in the previous night’s win, with 22 points off of the bench. In his absence, the 905 bench scored 17 points. Total.
The Raptors 905 will head to Long Island to take on the 1 and 2 Long Island Nets in another series of back-to-back games on November 19th and 20th.
Tip Kelsea O’Brien
Raptors 905 Squeak Past Westchester Knicks to Sweep the Series originated on Raptors Republic.