On Friday evening, the Raptors 905 were able to prevail in a late back and forth battle against the Westchester Knicks, grabbing the 119-116 victory at home.
In what was a rematch of the season opener, the Knicks looked to avenge their 95-119 blowout loss from Wednesday evening. Knicks’ Tyler Hall was an offensive bright spot, putting in three of four shots from three point land, concluding the first quarter with 10 points. On the 905 side, Isaac Bonga and Reggie Perry led the way offensively with 10 apiece, and the score was tied at 35 at the end of the first.
Dalano Banton, on assignment from the Toronto Raptors, brought the NBA-level high pacing and intensity to the game, allowing for his teammates to follow his lead and match his energy while on the court.
“I feel like once they see me run, they understand that I’m not just running to look to score, y’know, I’m looking to pass it” said Banton on his teammates getting on the same page as him. “Wherever I play, they understand that,” he added. Banton finished the half with 18 of his game high 30 points.
Trading baskets seemed to be a consistent theme of the match. The game was kept close throughout the first half, as the Knicks and the 905 exchanged the lead three times, and found themselves in a tie eight times. To no surprise given the way the half had played out, the two teams once again ended the quarter in a tie, each taking a 66-66 point score into halftime, respectively.
After a close first half, the Knicks decided it was time to pull away as they took advantage of some offensive struggles and defensive lapses from the 905. Knicks guards Tyler Hall and Brandon Williams helped propel their team to a 15 point lead during the third, dropping eight apiece for their squad in the quarter.
The 905 saw themselves down 98-89 to start the fourth and final quarter, however defensive stops and key bench production allowed the Raptors to begin on an 11-2 run to cut the Knicks’ lead to one. Guard David Johnson hit a running push shot at the 7:17 mark to give the 905 a one point lead. He raised up again to put in a three ball with 6:36 to go to now put the 905 up 4. Johnson scored 11 points in the quarter to finish the game with 18 on the night.
Knicks’ MJ Walker sliced his way to the basket for a lay in with 5:11 to bring the Knicks within two points. The 905’s Jawun Evans responded minutes later with a three assisted by Dalano Banton to bring the game to a 107-102 score. Reggie Perry added in a three of his own, and the 905 were suddenly up eight.
The Knicks would respond with their own 9-2 run and took a 113-112 lead with 1:15 to go in the game. The back and forth battle from the first half resumed, as the 905’s Isaac Bonga put in a trey ball to give the Raps the lead back with 1:05 to go.16 seconds later, the Knicks’ Tyler Hall responded with a 3 to put Westchester back in front 115-116 with 49.2 seconds to go in the game. After a Knicks turnover on a steal by Justin Champagnie, Raptors’ Isaac Bonga sliced his way to the hoop in transition, giving the Raptors the lead back at 117-116 with 11.3 seconds on the clock. Westchester was unable to cash in on a Tyler Hall three pointer, and the Raptors’ Johnson was fouled on the rebound. The 905 escaped the back and forth battle with a 119-116 score after two free throws from Johnson sealed the deal.
The 905 start the season 2-0 for the first time since the 2018-19 season. Raptors are back in action Friday November 19th against the Long Island Nets at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Coliseum at 7pm ET.