Early Raptors 905 Flurry No Match for Superior Skyforce
For the second time this season, Sioux Falls strings together seven straight wins after topping the Raptors 905 104-88 on Saturday afternoon at Hershey Centre.
It wasn’t a carbon copy of the New Year’s Eve edition, but the Skyforce (14-3) eventually wore down the hosts to win the third matchup between the two teams this season. Raptors 905 (5-14) took advantage of a fast start to enjoy a 13-5 lead before Sioux Falls struck back to lead 25-22 at the end of the first quarter.
Contributing to the Raptors early success was the return of highly regarded prospect Ronald Roberts who missed the previous game and the assignment of Toronto’s Lucas Nogueira. Both are a load down low.
Sioux Falls has their own tandem of NBA caliber big men in Jarnell Stokes on assignment from Miami and Byron Mullens who present their own challenges. Mullens connected from long range twice in the first stanza and Stokes took over the paint in the second frame pushing the Skyforce advantage to 61-51 at half.
A low-scoring third quarter for both teams gave way to a barrage from the outside by Rodney McGruder to put the game away for the visitors. The Kansas State guard drilled 5 of 6 from deep in the final 12 minutes to quell any notion of a comeback with highlights at the bottom of this post.
Three assignees hit the court for Raptors 905 with guard Delon Wright making the biggest splash with 33 points and 5 assists. Nogueria despite his early impact finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Bruno Caboclo struggled mightily and went 0-11 from the floor in a scoreless effort. Roberts was able to sustain his success by adding 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Josh Richardson spent his second game on loan from the Miami Heat compiling 16 points, 5 assists with 2 blocks and a highlight reel dunk (look below) while Stokes led the ‘Force with 22 points and 11 rebounds as the other Miami influence. McGruder finished with 20 points (17 in the fourth quarter) and Mullens accumulated 10 points and 12 rebounds.
These two teams will continue to be familiar with each other with two more matchups within the next 10 days. On Thursday January 7, they will reacquaint at the NBADL Showcase in Santa Cruz before finishing their season series on Tuesday January 12 in Sioux Falls.
This one is good, too.