By Redwan Majumder
Continuing this season’s trend of very close games, the Raptors 905 lost to the Lakeland Magic with a final score of 105-112 on January 20, 2020. A relatively back-and-forth game saw its outcome determined in the very end when the Lakeland Magic were able to capitalize well in the final minutes.
This was a crucial game for the Raptors – as the Magic hold the sixth and cut-off playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Accordingly, both squads were giving it their all with alternating leads being seen as early on as the first quarter. Tyler Ennis had a strong start, effectively reversing the momentum in the Raptors’ favour and contributing to the conclusive first quarter lead. The second quarter mirrored the first in terms of alternating leads, however, ending at 59-57, saw a more tense score line for the Raptors. The scenario then switched for the latter two quarters with the Magic coming out on top for both.
The star of the night was none other than the 905’s Oshae Brissett who scored 50% from the 3-point line, and ultimately achieved 24 points. Devin Robinson ended the night with 19 points – contributing great offensively and defensively. His ability to get to the basket efficiently translated into impressive inside scoring and his aforementioned defending showed his ability as a two-way player.
The 905 unfortunately saw a poor performance from Tyler Ennis – a player who normally puts up impressive numbers very frequently. Despite the spark he had at the start, bad shot selection lead to a 5-for-17 game for the Guard. Recently called up NBA prospect Paul Watson also did not preform to the caliber he previously set himself to. After returning from a 10-day contract from the Atlanta Hawks, the player was unable to deliver the accurate shooting that defines his playstyle. Ending the game with 11 points, he shot an unexpected and inefficient 5-for-15 from the field.
On the other side of things, the Lakeland Magic saw strong performances from Vic Law and Josh Magette who both respectively put up 23 points. Holistically, the Lakeland squad had six players end up with double digit scoring.
Ultimately, the game saw a total of 22 ties and seven lead changes. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Tyler Ennis missed two crucial shots while Josh Magette put up four consecutive points. This determined the end result.
The 905 are in a very crucial point of the season as now is the time to work on clinching a playoff spot. On the optimistic side, coach Jama Mahlalela and the entire squad have built a system where the Raptors score well and rarely conclude in huge losses. However, with the Raptors currently standing at 12-16 – twelfth place on the Eastern conference table – there needs be more wins if the squad wants to make it past the regular season.
The Raptors 905 now face a very tight four games within six nights which can greatly alter what their place on the G-League Eastern Conference Standings. Starting with the Greensboro Swarm on Wednesday, January 21, the squad will strive to turn the odds in their favour and increase their likelihood of a playoff run this season.