Taking the floor for their first bit of action of the New Year The Raptors905 were matched up against the Lakeland Magic. Trying to maintain their league best of holding opponents to only 39.0 points per game in the painted area would be a challenge in tonight’s contest for the 905 as Lakeland big man, Adreian Payne, would be playing the starting Center position, has been known to be a force in the paint but can also space out the floor and hit the long ball.
Right from tip-off both teams battled hard defensively showing active hands in the passing lanes leading to many deflections keeping the game tight throughout the first. This comes as no surprise as both teams are amongst the top three defences in the league with The 905 coming in at first holding opponents to just 98.1 points per game. As the quarter closed the refs got loose with their whistle to the advantage of the Magic. They shot 16 free-throws in the quarter helping them to pull away just a bit, leading 28-23 at the end of the first.
Quarter number two would see much of the same type of action with both teams making their coaches happy by playing good defense as they battled to be on top at the half. After trailing by nine for most of the quarter the 905 ended the half on a 6-0 run capped off by a big fast break dunk by Guard, Aaron Best, after a steal first deflected by Forward, Bruno Caboclo, cutting the lead to just three points. The score at the half was 46-43 for the Magic, with 905 Guard, Davion Berry, leading all scorers with 12 points.
It really seemed like Coach Stackhouse made it a point of emphasis for his guys to have active hands. In the first play of the second half Aaron Best got a steal and drew a clear path foul rewarding his team with two free throws and an extra possession. After knocking down both free throws Best brought the game to within one and on the ensuing possession Guard, Lorenzo Brown, gave the 905 their first lead since early in the first half when he a jumper from deep for three. Keeping that momentum going the 905 pushed the lead to eight, their biggest lead of the game thus far. Being a top defensive team you know The Magic weren’t just going to let the 905 get away with this one easily, they continued to fight shortening the gap to four points lead by guard TJ Price finished the third with 17 points after pouring in eights points in the quarter.
To start the final 12 minutes the 905 lead 69-65. Early in the fourth the crowd started to get into the game giving momentum to the home team proving why with their help the 905 have been tough to beat at home this season. Kaza Keane gave his team good minutes in the quarter being the floor general that he is finding his teammates in the right spots to knock down much needed jumpers. 905 Forward Bruno Caboclo came up big down the stretch in this one hitting a big three point shot to maintain the lead and with a big block in the closing seconds of the game to secure the victory making sure the Lakeland Magic had no chance of mounting a comeback. Lorenzo Brown had a game high in points with 19 and the 905 took the win with a final score of 91-84. The 905 are set to resume their title defense on Friday as they head out on the road take on the Erie Bayhawks.