Raptors 905 (17-12) would take on the Westchester Knicks (18-13) for the third time this season after splitting their previous two meetings. The 905 would be without starting point guard Jordan Loyd but a familiar face returned to fill his void. Forward Malcolm Miller made his season debut after being forced to sit on the sidelines due to injury. Miller had previously spent some time with the 905 last season playing as a two-way player with the Toronto Raptors. On Sunday the Raptors 905 announced they acquired Josh Adams from the waiver wire. He would start in place of Jordan Loyd, who was with the Toronto Raptors as they took on the Indiana Pacers.
The 905 started the game off slow, quickly putting themselves into a 13-point deficit. Although they played good team defense rebounding the ball and getting blocks, they just couldn’t get it going offensively shooting a mere 30% in the quarter. Knicks big man Isaiah Hicks proved to be a force for the Knicks early in quarter forcing 905 coach Jama Mahlalela to call for timeout. The 905 stayed aggressive drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line a few times and their defense lead to a couple fast breaks but they found themselves still trailing 32 -22 after the first quarter.
The offensive struggles continued early in the second quarter for the 905 with the deficit growing to as much as 16, but after back-to-back three balls the crowd and the 905 were back in the game. The Knicks lead stayed at 10 while the teams traded buckets but a quick 5-0 run from the 905 capped off by a big fast break dunk from Rodney Pryor gave them some momentum. The Knicks didn’t make it easy for the 905, by staying tough and sticking to their game plan they were able to push the lead back up to 11 but the Raptors 905 continued to claw away at the lead and we’re able to get within two after a run that was capped off by back to back dunks from 905 Centre Chris Boucher as the exclamation point. Although the shooting did pick up slightly it was the 905’s defense keeping them in the game, as they were able to tie it up at 59 at the half way point.
In the beginning of the second half an early three point shot from the newly acquired Guard Josh Adams gave the 905 their first lead of the game but the Knicks quickly regained the lead with Knicks’ Hicks getting help from teammates, Kadeem Allen and Stephen Zimmerman, who both finished the quarter scoring in double digits. Through good execution the Knicks were getting good shots but found it hard to pull away because of the defensive presence of Boucher, who made it difficult to score around the rim blocking three shots in a row and changing many others. 905 couldn’t seem to shake their shooting struggles and it would be more and more costly as time began to not be on their side. Their offensive struggles moved to the free throw line where 905 were shooting just 65% at the end of the quarter and still trailing. The Knicks had an 83-76 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
With Boucher getting some rest to start the 4th quarter the Knicks saw their chance to take advantage. They began to force-feed the ball to the painted area where they would see success and get some easy buckets. After Boucher returned to the game it became a dunk fest with him and 905 Forward Derek Cooke Jr. continuously rocking the rim. With just under four minutes remaining in the game 905 trailed by only 3 points despite their shooting woes but they couldn’t over come the deficit. The 905 had a couple of turnovers late that proved to be costly and couldn’t get the stops they needed to make up for it. At the final buzzer the Knicks came out on top with the score of 111 – 102 despite Boucher leading all scorers with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Derek Cooke Jr. and Malachi Richardson both recorded double-doubles in the 905 defeat. For the Westchester Knicks, Isaiah Hicks was the leading scorer with 24 points. The 905 will regroup and look to bounce back Saturday as they take on the Windy City Bulls before heading to Westchester to play the Knicks again on Monday and hopefully end the season series in a tie.