Grand Rapids Drive trumps Raptors 905

MISSISSAUGA, ON --- The Raptors 905 got out to a quick 14-4 lead in the opening quarter but from then on it was all Grand Rapids Drive.

The Grand Rapids Drive  whether it was in the paint or on the perimeter, won in every facet of the game. They led 76-43 at halftime and went on win 128-99.

The Grand Rapids drive were led by Darrun Hilliard 31 points and a 21 point performance from Devin Ebanks. The contributions from other Drive players was also evident on the scoreboard as Lorenzo Brown, Ryan Boatright and Dahntay Jones scored 17, 16 and 13 respectively.  

The Raptors 905 drop to 2-6 on the season. After the game, Raptors 905 coach Jesse Mermuys said this on his teams play.

“There were a lot of disappointing things, I think the most disappointing things was that it was a losing effort and it was a team losing effort.”

That describes the whole game for the Raptors 905. The 905 were not only beat by the Grand Rapids drive on the scoreboard but also in the important statistical categories. They were beat in points in the paint 68-50, field goal percentage 50.5-47.4, and three-point percentage 39.1-29.2, when that happens a loss is inevitable. Also, giving up 128 points does not help either.

Scott Suggs, who had 19 points, had this to say about the team’s effort when asked what was disappointing about the game.

“…Not a real good defensive effort, we knew they were a team that like to push the ball and that was our big focus in practice this week and we just didn’t carry it over to the game today.”

Over the last couple games there has been some defensive issues. Against the Delaware 87ers the 905 gave up 125 points and the perimeter defense is mostly to blame. In the last 2 games the 905 have allowed 3 perimeter players to score 30+ points (Jordan McRea 31, Sean Kilpatrick 37 and Darrun Hilliard 31).

While that is a small sample size, it does cause concern. This is definitely coach Mermuys and his staff will be focusing on this week.

In addition to that it seems that rim protection might be a problem as well going forward. The 905 have 7’4 Sim Bhullar to their advantage but on their rotation, they tend to go to 6’8 Ronald Roberts. While Roberts is a strong basketball player on both sides of the floor, he is still only 6’8 and that does not necessarily scream intimidation in the d-league.

One bright spot going forward was the play of Keanau Post. The 6’11 forward dropped 14 points in the game. Look to see Keanau Post to see more playing time at the center position to give the 905 more size off the bench.  

One theme that we see from the 905, whether win or loss, is that the 905 can score.

Five 905 players scored double digits (Scott Suggs 19 points, Delon Wright 15 points, Keanau Post 14, Melvin Johnson III 10 and Jay Harris 10). This came in spite of their 23 turnovers in the game. While that was a negative for the game, the fact the 905 can score nearly 100 points and turn the ball over 23 times is a positive going forward. Turnovers is relatively easy thing to fix for a basketball team, which means if the 905 can keep the turnovers down then I can see the 905 be an offensive nightmare for opposing defenses.

The defense does need to be put back on the right track. They will have a change to fix that issue on December 9thagainst the Erie Bayhawks. Tip-off starts 7:30.