905 Defeat the Grand Rapids Drive on "Bell Let's Talk Day"

Noora Popal
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@NooraPopal

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


MISSISSAUGA - The Raptors 905 faced the Grand Rapids Drive early Wednesday morning on Bell Let’s Talk Day, where the 905, with the addition of Stanley Johnson, beat the Grand Rapids, 116-110.

After Tuesday night’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, Stanley Johnson made his way to the Raptors G-League team to help them out in the early morning game. Along with the two-way players Brissett and Paul Watson Jr., they created a chemistry that was evident through their work on the court.

The team looked more in sync with one another than it has in a long time. The early morning game did not affect them, furthermore, they fed off the youthful and rambunctious crowds’ energy. 

Grand Rapids Drive, on the other hand, did not look as comfortable at this 11 am game.  It took them almost a full quarter to get themselves into the game.

The first quarter began with three back to back 3-point shots, one from Stanley Johnson and two from Oshae Brissett, before the Grand Rapids took a time-out.

Even after the time out, the Drive still couldn’t get a shot in. And fouling Watson didn’t help them as he proceeded to make the free throw, and then another 3-point shot, giving the 905 a 14-0 lead. It was only after that when Grand Rapids was able to obtain their 1st bucket of the morning, 2-14.

The first quarter was very electric, with some jaw-dropping buckets from Johnson, Oshae, and Watson. One of them being an alley-oop from Stanley to Oshae that got the bench and the fans off their feet and put them up 18-4.

Oshae had 19 pts- 7 rebounds- 2 assists, and 10 of those points came in the first quarter. He was also 3/6 from the 3-point line.

Not only was the game full of flashy dunks, but it was also raining 3's inside the Paramount Fine Foods center. The 905 were 19-46 from beyond the arc (41.3%).

Unfortunately, the fun didn't last long because a dunk from Ellenson that made the score 23-6, forced the Grand Rapids to take another time out. This time the team returned with a much tighter defense.

Halfway through the second quarter, Drive's defense got much more aggressive, and the Raptors had trouble getting their shots it. A few sloppy possessions resulted in a two-point deficit with 6:30 left on the clock, 42-20. Not long after, Grand Rapids tied the game for the first time.

The game came in waves where the 905 would take a solid lead, then minutes later, the Grand Rapids would close the gap. This occurred several times during the game, and it kept the Raptors on their toes.

Having players like Johnson on the floor gave the team a lot of confidence. Stanley had a double-double with 26 points- 11rebounds - 6 assists. There were a few instances where he was unhappy with some of the calls that were made, which he was vocal about, and it resulted in him receiving a technical foul with 9:43 left in the third quarter, 54-62.

The Drive only led once during the entire game, and it was only by one point with 6:02 left in the final quarter. However, the 905 lead by as many at 17 points.

Paul Watson had his first NBA game with the Raptors, Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks, and he was unstoppable from beyond the arc during this game. He had 26 points - 5 rebounds, as well as 5/8 from the 3-point line.

About halfway through the fourth quarter is where the 905 have had the most trouble. Several of their recent games were decided in the last few minutes of the 4th, oftentimes resulting in a loss. This time, though the Grand Rapids came close to taking the game, the Raptors continued to push through.

There were 13. 4 seconds left on the clock, and Hollis had to inbound the ball. Donta Hall was wide-open but was not ready for the pass. Luckily Ellenson was in a position where he could slap the ball away and for the Raptors to gain possession of it. That saved them from potentially losing the game. 

Even though in those last 3 minutes they got within 2 points of taking the lead, the Raptors managed to pull themselves out of that situation.

The Raptors 905 needed this win after losing several close games. This win can be used to build confidence within the players, and to show them that they can win close games.

Raptors 905 next face the Wisconsin Herd, Saturday, February 1st at 2 pm ET, at Paramount Fine Foods Center. This may be one of their toughest match-ups since the Wisconsin Heard is first in the Eastern Conference.