The Raptors 905 came back home and were firing at all cylinders. Despite not having guard Fred VanVleet and forward Bruno Caboclo, they defeated the Delaware 87ers 120-108. Offensively the 905 were clicking as they shot 55% from the field, and 42% from the three point range. This was in large part to a big second quarter for the 905. In that second quarter, they were able to outscore the Sevens 34 to 25 and their field goal percentage jumped from 41% in the first quarter to 56% in the second quarter. It seemed like the spark came from Burlington Ontario’s own Brady Heslip, who scored 8 points in a row for the 905 during the second stanza and finished with 17 points.
“That’s one of my strengths. As the point guard I got to help the guys get involved and if were lagging I got to be aggressive. That’s my job when I come on the court, to be aggressive offensively.” Said Heslip when asked about his second quarter. However Heslip, as well as the team, was not impressed by their performance. Heslip commented on the team’s perception of their win tonight “It wasn’t our best game. I don’t think it was a great game by me, there was a couple bad decisions. So no I’m not happy about the game but I’m happy we came out with the win.”
The 905’s head coach Jerry Stackhouse was also critical of the team’s performance on defensive end “We had a couple defensive lapses, missed a couple defensive rebounds that I think led to some to some early fouls” said coach Stackhouse. “Guys Competed, played hard but at the same time (the 905) made a lot of mistakes. Fouling guys on 3 pointers, shots. (I am) Looking at these percentages and that’s not us.”
The 87ers were able to find a groove offensively as they shot 48% from the field and at some points in the third quarter the 87ers had the lead. This was due to Shawn Long’s 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dionte Christmas also chipped in with 20 points on 9 shots. However, the 87ers were not able to keep the 905 quiet offensively. Aside from Heslip’s 17 points, Yannick Moreira chipped in with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Other plays stepped up too, as Jared Uthoff had 16 points, C.J Leslie poured in 14 points and Will Sheehey had 13 points. However, Axel Toupane was the most productive offensive player this game. Toupane had 24 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds on 7/11 shooting and went 9/12 from the from throw line. Toupane was really aggressive tonight as he scored lots of points in the paint and got to the free throw line multiple times. “I know if I can get by them, I have a good chance to get an easy layup so I tried to take advantage of It.” said Toupane when asked about being aggressive against whoever the 87ers sent out to defend him.
What was even more impressive was that Toupane would also play the point guard position at times for the 905. For Toupane playing the point guard position was nothing new for him “I grew up playing the point guard. Even last year with the 905 I was playing the point guard sometimes.” Said Toupane on the decision to play point guard. When asked if putting Toupane at the point guard position is something that he would go to more, Coach Jerry Stackhouse commented with this “I like our guards, but if we have an injury or something or if don’t have Fred down for assignment… then he’s definitely an option we can use there (at point guard).”
The 905’s next game is a home game on Thursday December 29th as they take on the Maine Red Claws. Tip-off is at 7:30.