The Raptors 905 came away with a 105-99 victory at home against the Westchester Knicks, but it was not without a fight. The 905 were in tough against the Westchester Knicks. Despite the 905 having the best record in the eastern conference, the 905 were in a fight. The Westchester Knicks played inspired basketball in the first half. Led by John Jenkins 14 first half points, the Knicks scored 55 points on 51.2% shooting. However, in the second half the 905 punched back.
If any a quarter this Raptors 905 team might struggle in, it is the third. However on this night, the third quarter is where the 905 made their run. In that third, the north side were red hot offensively. The north side dropped 39 points in the quarter and raised their field goal percentage from 38% to 46.7%. That third quarter also saw the 905 open the frame on a 15-4 run. Defensively the 905 were able to keep the Knicks under 100 points and lowered the Knicks shooting percentage to 44.4% from the field. As for Jenkins, he finished with 22 points but was a -9 on the night.
“For us to compete against them and make plays when we needed to was a really good job.” Said Raptors 905 Head Coach Stackhouse on his team’s play in the second half. The 905 got a bunch of contributions, however, C.J. Leslie’s 25 points and 9 rebounds was huge for the 905. While Leslie was great in the first half, it was his third quarter that impressed. Leslie scored 12 of his game high 25 points in the third quarter. What was even more impressive when watching Leslie, was the spike in intensity from the first half to the second half. “That’s just a part of the game. That was all to get my team energized and to get us going.” said Leslie when commenting on his intensity during the third and fourth quarter.
From a team perspective, Coach Jerry Stackhouse was really impressed with the way his team battled to a win tonight. “The only thing I was disappointed with tonight that we only outrebounded them by 20 so we are even for the season (total rebounding Battle)” joked coach Stackhouse when commenting on his team play. Coach Stackhouse also believes that his team has also gotten better throughout the season when dealing with adversity and is proud of his team for that “I they’ve gotten better at it… Take my hats off to them, every one of them. I told them the other night when Fred and Sully were here, we have soldiers.” Said coach Stackhouse.
What’s next for the 905? A February 23rd home date versus the Erie Bayhawks. However before that tilt is the NBA D-League All Star weekend, which features a lot of 905 content. Not only is Axel Toupane and Edy Tavares representing the 905 in the all-star game, not only is John Jordan in the dunk contest but as a result of the 905 having the best record in the eastern conference, Head coach Jerry Stackhouse and his staff will be coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars. This is an honor that Stackhouse says that he takes very seriously and will have some fun in New Orleans “Me and the staff, were going to go down there and like I said try to represent the Raptors organization the best that we can, but we’re going to have a couple cocktails too.”