It has been a historic season for the Raptors 905. Consider the following, this season 905 are first in the entire D-league with a record of 39-11, in only their second year. They are also the same team that finished with the best road record in NBA D-League history at 21-4. In addition to all of that, Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse was named NBA D-League coach of the year. However it is probably the northside’s playoff performances that have been the most impressive. Coming into their game 2 matchup with the Maine Red Claws they have not lost a game in the playoffs. The 905 are a perfect 3-0 in the NBA D-League playoffs, with 2 of those wins having a margin of victim higher than 10 points.
However, after their 109-84 victory against the Maine Red Claws, the Red Claws were out for revenge and looking to stave off elimination. In the beginning, the Red Claws did not get off to a good start. The Boston Celtics affiliate was held to 11 points on 23.5% shooting in the first quarter. Things got worse as just when they cut it to 1, trailing 35-34, the Raptors 905 ended the 1st half on a 21-2 run. With that run, the 905 led 56-36 at recess. Raptors 905 head coach Stackhouse was still on his players to maintain their intensity.
“Numbers lie. It probably wasn’t as good as it was. From a standpoint of some of the coverages that we could get better at, our switches and our pick and roll needed to be a little bit better.” Said coach Stackhouse when commenting what the Raptors 905 could get better at for the second half.
Despite the Red Claws outscoring the 905 in the third quarter, 27-21, the game was not very close. The intensity still remained and there were points at the game where Maine threatened to cut the lead to single digits. However, everytime that happened, it was followed by a Raptors 905 run. In the end the 905 defeated the Maine Red Claws 103-88 and will now advance to the NBA D-League finals.
The 905 had 6 double digit scorers. Brady Heslip led the Raptors in the point scoring category with 21 points, with Yannick Moriera having a double double, 16 point 12 rebound night. Heslip in particular was outstanding as he had 6 threes in the game and also did some talking with the Red Claws bench. Heslip is not known for his emotion and while he mentioned that he does not intend to do more of that, he had to talk back on this occasion.
“I just try to keep it cool for everybody and be the guy that my teammates can look to, to keep it steady when it’s a pressure situation. But the bench was talking so I let them know what’s up like ‘2-0’, have a nice trip home” said Brady Heslip when commenting on the situation. That comment of 2-0 refers to the series victory for the Raptors 905 and the 905 could not have done it without every member of the team contributing like they did.
Besides Yannick Moriera and Brady Heslip, the other double digit scorers was the Raptors project Bruno Caboclo with 16, Raptors call up Pascal Siakam with 15, E.J. Singler with 18 and John Jordan poured in 12. This has been a theme for the entire season. The 905 are known for the balanced attack or as head coach Jerry Stackhouse has constantly eluded to, the ‘Next man up’ mentality. Case in point, the 905 did not have Will Sheehey, Axel Toupane, and Edy Tavares in the lineup for their game 2 matchup. Yet, the 905 were still able to pull out the win without missing a beat.
“it’s just an opportunity for the next guys to come in and contribute for what we are doing” commented 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse on losing guys but still maintaining their performance. With that win the 905 are the new eastern conference champions. The 905 have remained perfect in the playoffs as well and coach Stackhouse hopes the team can keep this up but was not surprised.
“I’m just hoping it continues for 2 more games. I am not surprised because we work at it” said Stackhouse on his team’s play. The 905 will now move on to the NBA D-League Finals against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Winner gets all the marbles.