GAME 2: Raptors 905 103, Red Claws 88
Player of the Game: 905 G Brady Heslip — 21 points, 4 assists, 6-for-11 from 3-point range
Play of the Game: Demetrius Jackson skies for the slam dunk
GAME 1: Raptors 905 109, Red Claws 84
Player of the Game: 905 F Pascal Siakam — 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
22 PTS | 62% FG | 9 REBS | 2 STL pic.twitter.com/EDd9E7ROVt
— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) April 17, 2017
All season long the rest of the NBA D-League was playing catch up to one team, Raptors 905. The 905 posted a league-best 39 wins on the year and tied the league record for most wins a in a season set by the SkyForce in 2016. It was clear from the onset that this team was going to be a formidable opponent for anyone and everyone. They started the year 10-1 and didn’t lose a step, finishing it on 8-0 winning streak.
The victories didn’t stop when the regular season reached its conclusion as 905 swept its first-round matchup with the Charge and have been eagerly awaiting the winner of a thrilling Mad Ants, Red Claws series that went the full three games.
While their offensive production wasn’t historic, their defensive prowess was nothing short of spectacular. In their 50 games 905 held opponents to a measly 98.8 points per game on an ice-cold 42.8% shooting from the field. They dropped that points against average in their opening round series with the Charge to even lower mark of 98.5.
While defense may have got 905 here, this series could come down to a shootout on the offensive side of the floor between the 905’s Axel Toupane and Red Claws’ Jordan Mickey. Before being called up to the Pelicans for the final two games of the Pelicans series, Toupane dropped 41 points in 32 minutes on an highly-efficient 57.1% shooting from the field against the Charge. He also went 4-for-9 from the behind the arc.
Mickey putted up similarly impressive numbers in the Red Claws first-round series against the Mad Ants averaging 26.5 points per game, and bettering Toupane’s shooting percentage from the field, knocking shots down a 65.7% clip. He also nabbed 14.5 rebounds and posted 3.5 blocks per game.
These two are essentially identical when it comes to how they can score in bunches. Both are athletic wings that are at their best with the ball in their hands and with the necessity to break their defender down one-on-one. Both are unafraid to shoot from deep while also possessing the ability to finish through traffic in the lane.
No matter who finds their stroke first both will look to take the final shot, in the biggest moment, to lead their respective team to an NBA D-League Finals appearance.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MEET THE 905
NBA Affiliate: Toronto Raptors
Regular Season Record: 39-11
Key Stat(s): The 905 posted the league’s best Defensive Rating (100.1), outscoring opponents by a league-best 9.0 points per 100 possessions.
MEET THE RED CLAWS
NBA Affiliate: Boston Celtics
Regular Season Record: 29-21
Key Stat(s): The Red Claws led the league in three-point attempts (34.6) after ranking second in each of the past two seasons.