The Raptors 905 four-game winning streak was snapped by the visiting Delaware Blue Coats with a 112-97 loss at home. The Blue Coats turned the 905 over 19 times (12 off steals) and punished them with 32 points in transition. The 905 turned the Blue Coats over 13 times but scored just eight points on the fast break.
“I thought they did a great job playing their style of basketball,” said 905 head coach Eric Khoury of the Blue Coats. “Getting really aggressive defensively, making it uncomfortable for us, not letting us run our offence, and then using deflections to get out and run. That’s their M.O.”
Philadelphia 76ers two-way player Mac McClung drew a crowd to Paramount Foods Centre. The fan favourite, played well, making 69.2 percent of his shots en route to 21 points. In addition to his three assists, the bouncy guard dished out some fan service in the third quarter, beating David Johnson off the dribble and elevating at an ungodly speed for a one-hand jam.
McClung won the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest last month in Salt Lake City, UT at just 6’2”, making him the first NBA G League player to not only participate in the contest, but win as well. He was also named the NBA G League Eastern Conference Player of the Week (Feb. 27 – March 5) averaging 28.7 points on 61.5 FG%, 4.3 triples, 4.3 assists, and 1.7 steals while leading his team to a perfect 3-0 record in that span.
Ron Harper Jr. stuffed the stat sheet in a career game, producing a game-high 25 points, a career-high 10 assists, four rebounds, two steals, and three blocks in 35 minutes. The Toronto Raptors two-way player also knocked down four 3-pointers to match his output from Monday’s matchup against the G League Ignite.
Harper Jr. was seemingly two steps ahead of the Blue Coats all night on both ends of the floor, consistently finding open teammates no matter where they were in the halfcourt – even connecting with Kylor Kelley on a couple of alley-oops.
“They were just helping a lot and I was just finding my guys,” said Harper Jr. “When I was getting into the lane, coming off screens, I just felt the court open up and I was just finding my guys. It’s just me looking to get my teammates more involved and just trying to get them easy buckets too.”
Toronto Raptors 2022 second round pick Dalano Banton returned to the 905’s lineup after a three-game absence nursing a left thumb sprain. Despite making a couple of vicious dunks off the dribble, Banton wasn’t the rim threat that he usually poses to opponents. He had eight points and five assists on 30.8 percent shooting.
The Blue Coats started to find some separation in the second quarter through their defence. Their defence is highly communicative and effective from positions one to five, making the 905 struggle to find quality shots, especially in the first half. The 905 had just 41.1 FG% for the game while the Blue Coats enjoyed a more efficient 49.5 percent.
Louis King, a Philadelphia 76ers two-way player, set the tone defensively. He grabbed four rebounds and a game-high four steals while generally being a disruptive force for four quarters.
The 76ers affiliate also has a high-powered offence that tops the NBA G League in points scored per game, entering Wednesday night’s game averaging 124.3. Their 49.6 FG% also had them ranked third in that category.
Michael Foster Jr., Charlie Brown Jr., and sixth man Braxton Key all enjoyed efficient nights. They had 18, 15, and 21 points respectively while collectively shooting 65.7 percent from the field.
The 905 struggled to protect the rim after the seven-foot Christian Koloko checked out of the game in the second quarter with an apparent injury. He did not return for the second half, his night ending with 10 points, four rebounds, and an emphatic block on McClung in just 13 minutes. The 905 did not disclose the nature of Koloko’s ailment on Wednesday night.
The Blue Coats, who had also entered this game on a four-game winning streak, improved to 18-7, tightening their grip on the Eastern Conference second seed. The 905 fell to 13-11, tying them with the Lakeland Magic and putting them a half-game behind the Cleveland Charge in fourth.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
The Raptors 905 hosted their second annual International Women’s Night game on Wednesday night. The game featured an all women broadcast and referee crew, a number of in-game recognitions for women inside and outside of basketball, and prizes from women-owned businesses.
“The women in my life have always been important to me,” said Jeff Dowtin Jr. after his 18-point game on Wednesday. “Mother, sister, grandparents – without them, I wouldn’t be here. I thank them for everything that they’ve done for me. They’re strong, powerful, independent. You need great women in your lives that help you become a better man… Behind every great man is a great woman.”
Harper Jr.’s mother, Maria Harper, was in attendance at Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Wednesday night.
“I think I got the best mom ever,” said Harper Jr. after Monday night’s game against the Ignite. “She’s taught me everything I know about the game – and it’s shocking because my dad won five NBA championships – but my mom’s really the one who took me under her wing growing up. Showed me how to play the game. For a 5’4” Filipino lady I think she did a good job, right? So, yeah, my mom’s a superhero. She inspires me day in and day out to go out there and give it my all.”
The Raptors 905 will have a home rematch against the Delaware Blue Coats on Thursday, March 9th at 7:30 P.M. Wednesday’s Blue Coats vs. 905 box score click HERE.
Mac McClung made a splash in Mississauga as the Delaware Blue Coats invaded the Paramount Fine Foods Centre. Some snaps below of McClung by the always amazing behind the lens: Amanda Lee Coffey