After gaining redemption against the Westchester Knicks Friday evening through an impressive scoring output by Brady Heslip (32 points, 10/15 3pt), the Raptors 905 were able to outlast the Delaware 87ers 120-108 on Tuesday night.
First quarters haven’t been kind to the Raptors 905 in recent matchups but Tuesday night’s affair against the 87ers proved to be a tad bit different despite Fred VanVleet and Bruno Caboclo missing in action due to Toronto Raptors duties. Though the 905 shot a hair below 41% in the first 12 minutes of action and gave up 12 points in the paint — relatively better than the 18 first quarter paint points they allowed against the Knicks in Thursday night’s loss – they were able to score 29 points in the quarter against a scoring filled 87ers club.
The 905 were able to carry their offensive rhythm into the second frame, as well, thanks to key scoring surges by Brady Heslip and Axel Toupane; the scoring duo poured in 16 points collectively and helped stretch the lead 63-52 by halftime.
Heslip has been key for his 905 squad all-season long and seems to play a significant role in igniting scoring runs for them during opportune moments. During a stretch in the second quarter, the former Baylor standout connected on three timely jumpers to help push the lead to double-digits, and helped prevent the 87ers from making a significant scoring run before the half.
“As a point guard I’ve got to help the guys get involved, [if] we’re lacking I’ve got to be aggressive offensively,” said Heslip following the Raptors 905 win over the 87ers. “I try just to let the game come to me and take good shots. If I feel like it’s a lull or something I’ll try to be aggressive, I most of the time know the time and score,” Heslip said when asked if he understands when to take over the game on the offensive end. “Today was a little off, get-back game after the break so it’s good to get a win but not a great game. “
Turnovers have also been a cause for concern for coach Jerry Stackhouse, and with the 905 without the services of VanVleet and Caboclo, there was no shortage of miscues against the 87ers (18 turnovers leading to 32 points for the opposition). He understands that not having two of his top players can be a tough adjustment, but it shouldn’t change the identity of a team, especially defensively.
“Guys competed and played hard but at the same time made some mistakes. Fouling guys on three point shots, the percentages tonight, that’s not us,” said Stackhouse when asked about his team’s performance Tuesday night. “Seeing a team shoot 48% and get over a hundred points, one of the two gotta’ give. If they’re going to shoot that high then shorten the possessions a little bit and keep them under a hundred, I think that’s more favourable to us”
“We really played better defence in the second half. Again, just some mental errors and mental mistakes. Getting up double figures and then fouling guys on three point shots, I love the idea of us contesting shots but we don’t want to foul them on three point shots,” mentioned Stackhouse. “If they jump up and knock it down we’ll live with that but we don’t want to put them on the line and allow them to get easy ones.”
Toupane was easily the Raptors 905 most productive player in his 28 minutes of action. The former Denver Nugget was well acquainted with the rim en route to his team-high 24 points, connecting on nine free throws in his 12 attempts and shooting a blistering 63.6% (7/11) from the field, and with VanVleet absent Tuesday night, Toupane’s 9 assists were well needed for the 905.
“Once John [Jordan] picked up the foul we bought some minutes with Axel at the point, that’s something we may look at a little more as well if we happen to get in foul trouble and we don’t have Fred or somebody like that,” said Stackhouse about Toupane. “I like our guards but if we have an injury or something and we don’t have Fred down as an assignment then he’s definitely an option that we can use there. He has enough of a handle and I don’t worry about us on the defensive end because he can guard point guards.”
Toupane also dished out nine assists in the victory for the 905, while Heslip chipped in with 17 points (5/12 from three) in 24 minutes of time. Yanick Moreira notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
For the 87ers big man Shawn Long had a strong outing with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, while his teammate and former Phoenix Suns player Dionte Christmas poured in 20 points of his own.
The 905 shot 55% from the field in the game and outrebounded the 87ers 43-30. They improve to 12-4 on the season and will face off against the Maine Red Claws who are lead by Canadian Head Coach Scott Morrison and feature Toronto native Jason Calliste, on December 30th at the Hershey Centre as they continue their 4-game home stand.
Canadian born Negus Webster-Chan was inactive tonight.
Antwaine Wiggins had five points in just less than 15 minutes of action.
Written by Jas Grewal
Photo by Reel Motion Imaging
Edited by Drew Ebanks