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NBA G League Raptors 905 East Champs

Spurs Take Game One From Raptors 905 (with Highlights)

Derrick White scored a game-high 35 points for the Spurs in Austin on Sunday night to take Game One of the best-of-three NBA G League Finals from the defending champion Mississauga Raptors 905. The final score was 105-93.

 

 

The Spurs also got big nights from guard Darrun Hilliard who had 23 points and 17 points from Nick Johnson.

905 guard Lorenzo Brown led his team once again with 20 points while center Kennedy Meeks chipped in with a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

 

 

The Spurs were able to capitalize on strong three point shooting in the opening quarter, hitting on 60 percent from beyond the arc to take an early 30-23 advantage. Hilliard recorded 10 points in the quarter to pace Austin. Raptors 905 pushed back in the second frame, spearheaded by Brown’s 12 point effort in the quarter. After the opening 24 minutes of play, Austin went into the break up 54-49.

After a 27-27 draw in the third quarter, the two teams headed into the final frame with Austin ahead 81-76. In the fourth quarter, Austin converted at a 53.3 percent clip from the field to edge the 905 24-17 in the frame and earn the Game One victory.

Both teams now head to Mississauga for Game Two on Tuesday, April 10 with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA G-League Toronto Raptors 905 Lorenzo Brown

Lorenzo Brown Leads Raptors 905 To G-League East Finals

Lorenzo Brown scored the first two points of the night for the Raptors 905 and led his team to a 92-80 victory over the first-place Knicks in the NBA G-League East Semi-Final at the Westchester County Center in White Plains New York on Monday night.

As he has done all season Brown continued to be the catalyst for the 905 attack recording a team-high 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.  Kennedy Meeks (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Alfonzo McKinnie (10 points, 11 rebounds) contributed double-doubles for the 905.

Isaiah Hicks scored a game-high 23 points for the Knicks, who also received a 20-point effort from New York Knicks assignment player Damyean Dotson and a near triple-double of 16 points 10 assists and eight boards from starting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.  However, the 905 bench offset the huge offensive output by the Knicks starters, outscoring the Westchester reserves 45-21.

Westchester jumped out to a big 18-4 early lead on the strength of three quick trifectas and three layups while the 905 couldn’t buy a basket. Fortunately, the 905 bench came in and turned things around to pull within three points, 26-23, at the end of the first quarter.

The game stayed close thru the second and third quarters with neither team able to put together a run and it stayed that way until the 905 hit back-to-back three-pointers to go up by eight points with 6:15 left in the game. The Knicks rallied back to close to within four points before the 905 clamped down on defense over the final four and a half minutes to outscore their opponent 10-2 and secure the victory.

Raptors 905 will continue its quest to defend their NBA G-League title Friday April 6th on the road against the winner of Tuesday’s contest between the Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the single game elimination Eastern Conference Final.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Lorenzo Brown

Lorenzo Brown Leads Raptors 905 To Playoff Victory

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.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

NBA G-League Vipers Kyle Wiltjer and

Kyle Wiltjer Is Available If Raptors Want A Stretch-Four

At this point it’s not a mystery, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is looking to fill out his roster with young high potential shooters on non-guaranteed deals. There may be no better recently available young free agent prospect than the sharp shooting stretch four Kyle Wiltjer.

“You are wearing shorts, I’d like to sign you,” Ujiri joked when asked about his plans to fill out the rest of his roster. “We are going to add a couple of different players, maybe they are non-guaranteed, I don’t know. We’ll see how the market fares now.”

With a genuine desire to see how well the young players on his roster perform next season, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if the players added after the signing of C.J. Miles are training camp competition for guys like Pascal Siakam, Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo.

Wiltjer, an undrafted rookie with the Rockets last season, couldn’t crack the rotation in Houston, but he put up big numbers with their D-League affiliate Vipers helping lead the team to the NBA D-League Finals against the Raptors 905.

Over the three games in the Finals, the 905 got a good look at Wiltjer and it wasn’t until Game Three when head coach Jerry Stackhouse told eventual Finals MVP Pascal Siakam to smother him like a blanket that they were able to stop him from scoring.

“Wiltjer was big time tonight,” Stackhouse said after Game Two. “A guy that is not the quickest swiftest of feet, but he gets to his spot and whenever he does, he’s a big time shooter.

“I’d say Brady (Heslip) is the best shooter in the world, (Wiltjer) got to be in the top five. I think he is going to have an opportunity to really showcase who he is.”

Wiltjer didn’t suddenly become a knockdown three-point shooter in the D-League. Thru four years of college he averaged 42.5 percent on 4 three-point attempts per game. As a senior with Gonzaga, he averaged 20.4 points and 6.3 rebounds on 49.1 percent from the field and 43.7 percent on 5.7 three-point attempts per game.

In 22 regular season D-League games with the Vipers he was a three-point shooting machine, averaging 20.5 points and shooting 37.9 percent on 9.7 three-point attempts a game. He stepped that up in the postseason to 21.2 points and 40.8 percent on 10.9 three-point attempts.

If Ujiri is looking for a stretch-four to develop who is willing to fire away, it’s hard to argue against Wiltjer.

Those three D-League Final head-to-head matchups with Siakam provided a lot of insight as well.

When it was his primary responsibility in Game Three, Siakam was able to keep Wiltjer from going off, but that’s exactly what a stretch-four is supposed to do. Wiltjer occupied his opponent’s best defender. The Vipers just didn’t have enough other scorers to take advantage.

Wiltjer was a dominant player in the D-League because of his three-point shooting and he could be the NBA’s next Channing Frye or Ryan Anderson. With the way the NBA is headed, he’s at least worth a training camp invite and a reasonable guarantee amount to get him there.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Malcolm Miller and Alfonzo McKinnie

Raptors Sign Two Undrafted Free Agents

The Toronto Raptors signed two undrafted free agents today guard-forward Malcolm Miller to the recently created two-way G-League/NBA contract and forward Alfonzo McKinnie to a multi-year/ training camp invite contract.

In keeping with president Masai Ujiri’s new theme for 2017, both players can shoot the three.

An undrafted wing player out of Holy Cross in 2015, Miller shot 37.2 percent from three on 121 attempts as a senior and played for the NBA D-League Maine Red Claws the following season where he shot 39.8 percent from three-point range on 211 attempts and that got him a contract in Europe.

In 40 games with Alba Berlin last year he averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.7 minutes over 40 games. Once again he showed three-point proficiency by hitting on 38.5 percent of 91 attempts.

(All stats per Real GM)

The 6’7 Miller is 24-years-old has shown at least one NBA ready skill and inking him to a two-way G-League/NBA contract makes sense. He’s worth a good look.

 

The 6’8 McKinnie shot 6-13 from three as a junior and 21-64 as senior with Green Bay after spending the prior two seasons with Eastern Illinois. Over four college seasons he averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18.9 minutes, but he was about to find his stride in the NBA Development League.

Last year he averaged 14.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 30.5 minutes in 50 games for the Windy City Bulls. He reached double-figure scoring 41 times. Showing future potential to stretch the floor, McKinnie shot 30.8 percent on 133 three-point attempts.

Stats per Real GM

The 24-year-old Chicago, Illinois native was named to the 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Game in New Orleans where he made a big impression on his head coach, Raptors 905 Jerry Stackhouse as reported by Sam Smith for the Windy City Bulls.

Alfonzo McKinnie impressed Jerry Stackhouse. This is not an easy thing to do. There haven’t been many guys to play in the NBA tougher than Stackhouse, who Saturday coached the East D-league All-Stars to a 105-100 victory.

“I loved his energy in practice,” said Stackhouse. “Defensively, he was one of the guys you showed one thing and right there he was doing it the next time. He had a good spirit. We (Stackhouse’s league leading Raptors 905 team) played against him this year. He’s athletic, has an ability to shoot the ball, perimeter, great size. The kid has a real chance.

“He has the ability to be a game changer defensively,” Stackhouse said. “To really be up on pick and roll; step up pick and roll is where it is now. If you can get guys up to that level, they can deter guys and he has the quickness to not let guys get by. I think that’s where he can make his mark on the defensive end first.”

A couple of players who, at this point, are not expected to make the Raptors in Toronto, but fit the profile of the types of player Ujiri wants to develop with the Raptors 905. They both have potential.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.