Raptors 905 Manage to Close Out Yet Another Close Game

Noora Popal
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@NooraPopal

Sunday, February 23, 2020


905 Beat the Second Seed Red Claws

MISSISSAUGA - The Raptors 905 played in front of a sold-out crowd on Norman Powell Bobblehead game Saturday afternoon. They faced the number two team in the East, the Maine Red Claws, and defeated them in a close game, 116-109. 

Duane Notice was out once again since he is representing team Canada in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifying tournament. Additionally, Tyler Ennis and Paul Watson Jr. were both out due to injuries. EC Matthews was brought in by the Raptors to step in for Notice while he is with team Canada, though he did not get to play any minutes this game.

Since Paul Watson Jr. was out, Malcolm Miller came in to take his place, as he was sent by the Raptors to the 905 on an assignment. Oshae Brissett was also present in this game after being with the Raptors the night before when they defeated the Phoenix Suns. 

This was another close game that the Raptors were miraculously able to close out. Throughout this season, the Raptors 905 had trouble closing out games that they were more than capable of winning. When you’re this close to the playoffs, it is crucial that you don’t let these “winnable” games slip away. And it seems like the 905 have been able to figure out how to not let that happen.

Raptors led the majority of the game, and all the lead changed occurred in the first and second quarters. However, they were close to losing that lead near the end of the fourth quarter. 

This game was successful mostly due to individual performances since there were stand out performances from some key players. Henry Ellenson, who was acquired in a trade from the Long Island Nets for Justin Anderson, had 28 points 5 assists. 

Oshae had an exceptional performance this game with 29 points 10 rebounds. He was also 5/7 from beyond the arc. His execution during games has been a little on-and-off for the 905, but that can be attributed to the fact that he goes back and forth between his two teams. It can take some time to adjust to the changes. 

Devin Robinson was another player who had a remarkable night, with a double double of 24 points and 4 rebounds and was 4/8 from the 3-point line. 

Though the Raptors led by as many as 20 points, the Red Claws showed why they are the second-best team in the East by closing that lead and making it a 2-point game, 109-111. A layup from Matt Morgan, with 41.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, is what pulled the 905 out of hot water. 

The team struggled a lot with turnovers in many of their previous games, which contributed to some unfortunate losses in close matches. In the game against the Knicks, which went into a triple over-time, they had 23 turnovers, and in the game prior to that against the Kings, they had 24 turnovers. This game, the Raptors managed to cut that number by more than half. They had 4 turnovers at half-time, 1 turnover in the third quarter, and the other 5 came as things started to get tense in the final quarter. 

Coach Jama Mahlalela said that turnovers are something that the team will continue to work on. Cleaning up the number of turnovers may be one of the keys to success for this team, especially with the payoffs being just around the corner. 

The Raptors 905 get a 3-day break before their next game, which is against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Tuesday, February 25th.