Raptors 905 advanced to the East Finals of the 2017 NBA D-League Playoffs after beating the Canton Charge with crushing defense, 108-90 Saturday night at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
“Defense, great defense,” Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “The guys were locked in. I thought our game plan was sound. After Game One we had film to watch and we watched every possession on film. The guys hate that, but it gets us better prepared. I thought they came out with a ton of energy and great focus.”
The 905 dominated from tip, holding the Charge to 4-24 shooting from the field in the first quarter on the back of 5 blocks and numerous changed shots by center Edy Tavares. Tavares finished the game with 7 points, a game-high 9 rebounds and 8 blocks and it looked like the official scorer missed at least one block in the fourth quarter.
“(Tavares) has unbelievable talent,” Stackhouse said. “The way he protects the rim for us. For the most part he just went up there and used his length. He has unbelievable timing.”
Four of five 905 starters scored in double-digits with sharp-shooting guard Brady Heslip pacing the team with 21 points off the bench.
“I am pretty sure we are the best defensive team in the league all year,” Heslip said. “It’s been great for me, for my development. I’ve gotten a lot better as a point guard and as a defender. I play a lot of minutes and we’re the best defensive team in the league and that’s got to say something. I love it, playing for (coach Stackhouse). It’s been amazing so far.”
E.J. Singler (17 points) led the 905 in the opening quarter as they took a 38-13 lead. The lead was 65-35 at the half and hit a 38 point advantage in the third before the 905 put things in cruise control the rest of the way.
With the win, the 905 has won their first D-League playoff series and earned a berth in the Conference Finals where they will face either Maine or Fort Wayne.
Just prior to the game the 905 found out they would be without the services of Axel Toupane who led the team in the Game One victory with a franchise record 41 points. Toupane has been signed by the New Orleans Pelicans for the remainder of the NBA season.
Two Toronto Raptors players were assigned to the 905 for this playoff game. Bruno Caboclo had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Pascal Siakam contributed 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kay Felder led Canton for the second-straight contest, posting 22 points in the loss.