New Year's Day Loss for the Raptors 905

Noora Popal
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@NooraPopal

Thursday, January 2, 2020


MISSISSAUGA - It was a tough fight for the Raptors 905 (7-11) and a painful loss to the Agua Caliente Clippers (9-9) on New Year's Day, 110-93. 

While coach Jama Mahlalela had hope that his team would come to the first game of the year with a hop in their step, that was not what happened, at least not in the last 1.5 quarters of the game. 

Both teams appeared to be equally matched however, it was evident that the Clippers defense was in many ways more powerful than the Raptors. Though the quarter ended with Agua Caliente leading by 1 point, it was hard to tell who would come out on top, 30-29. 

What made this game memorable was the fact that there were four Canadian players out on the floor. Mfiondu Kabengele and Xavier Rathan-Mayes both play from Agua Caliente. Mfiondu had a spectacular performance in this game as he scored 26 points and had 10 rebounds. The Canadian showed no mercy for the 905 as he consistently made his shots and was an active defensive player. Mfiondu’s strength was unmatched on the court and it allowed him to be effective on both ends of the floor. 

It appeared that the 905 had things under control and that there could be a possibility of them winning, but that all changed midway through the 3rd quarter. The Raptors even took a 1-point lead in the 3rd but then lost it very quickly. The Clippers started to increase their lead as the 905's defense became easily penetrable. Raptors 905 headed into the 4th quarter being down 10 points, 68-78.

Tyler Ennis has been a reliable teammate for the Raptors to depend on for his consistency in his performances in games. He put up a solid 14 points and 8 assists.

Oshae Brissett was also back to the 905 after having success recently with the Raptors. He flew out to Miami after facing Agua Caliente to meet his teammates for the game against the Heat on January 2nd. 

Late in the 4th quarter, after a Raptors timeout with 5:09 left to play, the defense, as well as the offense for the Raptors, was much more aggressive. Unfortunately, the Clippers had the strength to stop their attempts. They won 110- 93 and the Raptors could not make a comeback.

It is always beneficial having a player like Justin Anderson on the floor, especially when the team is down by a lot. This game, Anderson had another double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds. He secured 12 of the 25 points in the 1st quarter. He was aggressive even when the odds were stacked against them. 

Devin Robinson had a tough game on New Year’s Day with only 11 points, which is a drastic change from 905’s last game against Greensboro Swarm where he had 26 points.

Justin Reyes got a few minutes of action during this game, where he was able to hopefully gain some experience playing with the team. Additionally, Sagaba Konate returned after being absent due to an injury. 

This team shows a lot of promise, and having the full roster available to play on Wednesday afternoon may have been slightly overwhelming and will take some time to get used to. There is a lot of talent that has the potential to shine on this team. The pieces need to start clicking to see this happen.

Their next game is January 4th against the Grand Rapids Drive at 7:00 pm ET. And their next home game will be on January 6th against the Erie BayHawks at 7:30 pm ET.