Raptors 905 battled until the final whistle in their NBA G-League Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in front of 2,253 enthusiastic fans at the Hersey Centre, earning a 92-88 victory over Grand Rapids Friday night led by their two-way contract star Lorenzo Brown.
“Both teams played really good defense,” 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the game. “I expected this game to be a battle and it absolutely was. At the end, Lorenzo stepped up and made some big plays for us and we got the stops that we needed on the defensive end.”
The starting guards would feature prominently throughout this game as Brown and Grand Rapids Drive guard Kay Felder posted game-high 24-point efforts. The 905 also benefited from timely points from Toronto Raptors assignees Alfonzo McKinnie and Malachi Richardson who had 8 points and 5 points in the fourth quarter respectively to earn the victory. McKinnie hitting the game winning basket with 28 seconds left on a play called by Brown on the fly.
“Malachi came up and gave us some life there in the second half,” Stackhouse said.
“I was so proud of Lorenzo. I didn’t call that play (at the end), that play he called for Alfonzo to get that (winning) shot in the lane, they called that on the free throw down there. They saw something there and I think that’s the growth of a point guard being able to call things on the fly.”
“We tried to call (that play) about eight times,” Lorenzo explained. “But (coach) Stack, he thought something (else) would work, so we kept going with what Stack wanted to do. They kept taking away our hammers and me going downhill so we had to make some adjustments and got them confused because they kept switching and Alfonzo had the hot hand at the moment so we had to go to him and he made the big play.”
The game was tightly contested from the tip with Grand Rapids leading 50-49 at the half. Nothing was decided until the final minutes when the 905 broke a 82-all tie with less than 5 minutes left on a 6-0 Brown lead flurry.
Brown assisted on a McKinnie jumper and then scored on two quick drives to the rim, the first one leaving the Drive looking lost and confused.
“I definitely carried,” Brown admitted. “I don’t know what the refs was thinking, I definitely carried, but I got away with it.”
Raptors 905 now head to Westchester for a second-round meeting with the Eastern Conference Champion Knicks. The game will take place Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBA TV.