By Sheila C

Homecoming

On Saturday afternoon, the Raptors 905 returned home to Paramount Fine Foods Centre to face the Greensboro Swarm. The team was back in Mississauga after suffering back-to-back road losses. It was a slow start, but the team put together a strong 120-106 performance to propel the team back into the winning column.

In the 1st quarter, the team put up 4 points in the first five minutes of action. The Swarm’s Jalen McDaniels, scored 9 of his squads 28 points in the first 12 minutes and managed to outscore all the Raptors 905 starters. Toronto’s bench shot 83% on 4 of 6 shooting, compared to the starters 19% on 3 of 16 from the field.

Despite the poor shooting, 905 picked up their offensive intensity in the 2nd quarter. Justin Anderson exploded for 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting, to help the team overcome their 10 point deficit going into the quarter. Paul Watson added 8 points in the quarter and finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

It was more of the same in the 3rd, with the team continuing their steady play. Anderson added 9 points in the quarter enroute to an impressive 25-point performance; he added 10 rebounds and 3 assists. The momentum stayed with the 905 to close out the match. 4 of the teams 5 starters ended the game in double digits, with the team shooting 45% from the field. Despite his slow start, Tyler Ennis finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.

After the game, Justin Anderson commented on being down 16 at home to the visiting Greensboro squad. He felt “disrespected” that the Swarm came in and built a 16-point lead on their home floor. He talked about wanting to be more assertive and credited coach Jama Mahlalela on putting together a solid strategy that enabled the team to put together a more complete game.

Mahlalela also commented on Anderson’s vocal leadership. He spoke of his ability to make the team feel comfortable and want to play for him. When there’s accountability, players buy into the system and try to play the right way. Coach also talked about how the game changed with the shift in the defense; 905 held the Swarm to 39% on 36 of 93 from the field.

Next for the Raptors 905 are the Agua Caliente Clippers on New Years Day. Tip off is 4p at Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

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