Raptors 905 Struggle (Once Again) to Close Out Game Against Magic

Noora Popal
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@NooraPopal

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


MISSISSAUGA - The Raptors 905 returned home after a 5-game road trip for the Welcome Toronto game Monday night, where they faced the Lakeland Magic. Losing 4 out of 5 games on the road was very difficult for the team, but their hopes to redeem themselves at home were crushed when they lost 112-105 to Lakeland. 

With the roster changing up so much in the last few weeks, it is difficult to have a consistent rhythm within a team. Additionally, the Raptors have struggled closing out games they are more than capable of winning. 

Oshae shot a 3 to start the game off, and that set the tone for him for the rest of the night. The Raptors started the first quarter weak defensively, but things picked up quickly, and they were up 18-27 with less than 3 minutes left to play. The Raptors were up 30-24 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a buzzer-beater from Brissett. 

The 905 led by as much as 11 points in the first half, but the Lakeland Magic were determined to cut the lead by half time. They started to make their shots, and the 905 got sloppy with their ball possessions creating some turnovers.

At the end of the 2nd quarter, Vic Law appeared to have fouled Brissett in the act of shooting a 3, which put him at the free-throw line to potentially increase the lead from 59-57. Oshae missed the 1 basket for 3-points, and that was the end of the half. 

After that late foul call at the end of the second on Law, which he was furious about, he came back more aggressive than before. Not just Law, but the rest of his team as well. 

The lead changed 22 times during the duration of the game, 14 of those were in the 4th quarter. During the majority of the 4th quarter, there was either one point or two-point differential between the two teams. A very intense game to say the least.

This continued until the last two minutes of the game, where like in the past, the Raptors had difficulties closing out the game. Magic was able to make key shots, while the 905 missed theirs. Specifically the two back to back missed floaters from Ennis. In the end, the 905 fell short to the Lakeland Magic, 105-112. 

Oshae Brissett had an outstanding performance against the Magic with 24 points/8 rebounds/3 assists as well as 4-8 made 3's. Devin Robison's performance also did not go unnoticed with his 19 points/5 rebounds. A memorable part of the night was the crazy dunk from Robinson that happened midway through the 3rd, where he bounced the ball off the backboards to himself for a dunk. An NBA Dunk Contest worthy dunk. 

That was just one of a few jaw-dropping plays from both Devin and Oshae. Though they would have been more enjoyable if the Raptors were able to close out the game. 

In other (but very relevant) news:

Just as quickly as they got Justin Anderson back from his 10-day contract with the Brookly Nets, the Raptors 905 decided to trade him to their G-League team, Long Island Nets, in exchange for Henry Ellenson. The absence of his leadership and energy will be missed on the court by his teammates. The 905 need to establish two or more players that would be willing to take on a leadership role that mirrors Anderson’s. 

The way Justin was able to get his team going even though they were down was unmatchable. Even with a team that is full of talent, when morale is low, it is hard to accomplish anything. For this reason, certain players must step up and provide consistent leadership and energy to the team. 

Being halfway through the season, the Raptors have to start thinking of the play-offs and what changes they need to make to start winning more games. Particularly what more they need to do to finish games more effectively. 

Next, they face the Greensboro Swarm on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm ET.