Raptors 905 defeat the Salt Lake City Stars 99-87 at home, as the Stars lose their third game of their four-game road trip.
Guard Malcolm Miller had a big night for the home team, scoring team-high 22 points and dropping 6 three-pointers, going 54% from beyond the arc. Lorenzo Brown and Kennedy Meeks added 16 apiece, while Brown added 14 assists to notch his double-double of the night while being +19 on the floor.
Two players for the Stars added double-doubles, Eric Griffen dropping game-high 23 points and 10 boards, while Canadian native Naz Mitrou-Long added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
After going 1-1 on the road, the 905 returned to the north hoping to build a win streak. Miller’s big night began right away, as he scored seven points in the first eight minutes. Meeks and forward Bruno Caboclo made their presence felt down-low, as they were grabbing boards and getting defensive stops. Meeks dominated the paint while Fuquan Edwin, who left his Finnish team to enter the G League, knocked down back-to-back threes from the corner, stretching the early 905 lead to 12 to end the first quarter.
The Stars took advantage of 19 turnovers committed by the 905, which resulted in 26 points in transition for the visiting team. Being that it was some of the players first time playing together, like newly acquired Fuquan Edwin, Alfonzo McKinnie coming back to the 905 and Kuran Iverson, head coach Jerry Stackhouse still considered it a pretty good night, and a good win.
Despite the live ball turnovers, the 905 never lost their lead. Meeks continued to show he is a powerhouse in the post with his reverse lay-ins, even losing his shoe on the move in the second half.
But every time the Stars sped things up and began moving the ball better to go on a little run, the 905 had an answer.
Stars’ guard Long tried to do it all by grabbing boards, going coast-to-coast and getting good open looks for his teammates but it wasn’t enough as Edwin was able to lay in an easy bucket through traffic to put the 905 up by 25, forcing a Stars time-out.
Forward Bruno Caboclo let his teammates know he was there to clean up their messes, not giving up on any play. But he was restricted as he found himself in early foul trouble. Coach Stackhouse says they are going to keep working on his mindset. “Defensively is where he sets the tone,” Stackhouse said. “He’s one guy on our team that doesn’t have to leave his feet on the perimeter.”
During the last play of the game, Caboclo made a single-handed defensive stop, just by using his wingspan – no jumping.
The Raptors 905 were able to hang on to their lead and won by 12, making it their second win in a row after leaving the Windy City Sunday night with a 104-99 victory. Although the team has five days off until they host the Fort Wayne Red Ants on Saturday, Coach Stackhouse looks to maintain the momentum they have right now. “We get right back to work on Wednesday, we still feel like we’re in a hole right now,” Stackhouse said post-game. “So being 7-10 we just try to work our way back to .500 and start thinking about trying to get some separation from there.”