A Roster Change for the Raptors 905 and a Win Over the BayHawks
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
MISSISSAUGA - It has been an eventful few days for the Raptors 905, during which some major shifts occurred within the team.
Justin Anderson was signed to a 10-day contract for the Brooklyn Nets, who waived David Nwaba earlier this week post Achilles injury. Justin was averaging 21.2 points and 6.8 rebounds with the 905, but he is back with an NBA team now where he can hopefully perform just as well.
Paul Watson Jr. was also called up by the Atlanta Hawks for a 10-day contract. He had a stand-out performance during the Vegas showcase. Paul averaged about 18 points and 7 rebounds per game with the Raptors 905.
Though all this was happening, the Raptors 905 still managed to win their 9th game of the season. They did so on Fred VanVleet’s bobblehead night, beating the Erie BayHawks, 124-114.
The stadium was packed with members of the Raptors 905’s parent-team. From the coaching staff to the players, they were all there to support Fred as well as to cheer on the G-League team.
Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Terrance Davis, Dewan Hernandez, and Nick Nurse, among others, showed up to watch the game. As Stanley Johnson mentioned, the 905 team is like family to them, especially since a few of their key players were on this team.
Before the start of the game, Coach Jama Mahlalela was asked how the absence of the leadership from Justin Anderson would be missed, and who could step up to take on this role. For this game, Jama put that task on Stanley Johnson, and Stanley did not fail to deliver.
Since Stanley would not be playing with the team regularly, Coach Mahlalela expects the other guys on the roster to step up and take on this leadership role. Not anyone in particular, but someone who feels comfortable enough to take on this responsibility.
The Raptors player, sent on an assignment, had 24 points and 11 rebounds. He started the game off a little nervous, and that could be attributed to the fact that he has not played with a lot of the guys on the team before, which is why it took him some time to get in his element.
The game started very shakily, with the Raptors being down 17 at one point. Amidst the new players added to the roster and old ones taken out, it took the 905 that the 1st quarter to adjust.
Many turnovers occurred and a lot of missed shots, but once they got into the rhythm, they were very hard to stop. The first quarter ended with the BayHawks leading 34-26, but then they took a 2-point lead at the half, 56-54.
One of the two-way players on the team, Oshae Brissett, had one of his best games with the Raptors 905, scoring 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Matt Thomas made his first G-League appearance on his final step to completing the recovery process for his finger injury. He had a double-double, 18 points, and 10 rebounds. One thing that he needs work on is his 3-point shooting since he was just 2/8 from beyond the arc. This is something that will improve as he continues to play. Thomas is said to return to play on Tuesday night against the Portland Trailblazers.
Sagaba Konate played 19:13 minutes this game, during which he had 14 points and 6 rebounds. He has strength, though he needs to work on being more active on the floor, setting up screens, and passing the ball. Coming off an injury it will take him some time to develop these skills.
During the last quarter, the BayHawks were close to cutting the lead, 108-110, when a 3-point shot and 1 from Oshae brought the 905 back up. Additionally, the two slam dunks from Oshae got the crowd going and had some of the Raptors (Powell and Siakam) on their feet.
The last 30 seconds of the game took a very long time to finish since the BayHawks were still hoping to find a way to beat the 905. Nothing was going their way, and a dunk in the last few seconds from Stanley Johnson put an explosive end to the game, 114-124.
There are many elements that the team has to work on and a lot of changes that they have to deal with now that two key players are gone. But having players get 10-day contracts is what they work towards, even though it hurts them short-term.
The Raptors 905 will head on a 5-game road trip and will not be back home until January 20th. Their first road game will be against Oklahoma City Blue on January 10th at 8 pm ET.