Skyforce Build Big Lead Then Coast to Win over Raptors 905
Additions seemed exponential as the Sioux Falls Skyforce galloped to victory 119-105 over Raptors 905 on New Year’s Eve. It was the first venture into Canada for the ‘Force in 14 years.
There’s more to come about the franchise’s Canadian success later. On this night Sioux Falls (13-3) scored the first 7 points and only allowed the hosts to close within two points early in the contest en route to their sixth straight win.
Trailing by 27 in the third quarter, the Raptors (5-13) rallied to within 12 with just over a minute left. With guard Josh Richardson joining the Skyforce on assignment from Miami, he made maximum impact in his NBADL debut.
The second round pick for Miami is supposed to get some game reps and get sharp as the parent club prepares for a tough January stretch. Richardson got 42 minutes on the court and produced 30 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals plus a blocked shot. He also led the team in the plus/minus category with 20.
Forward Jarnell Stokes is also directed by Miami to Sioux Falls for the same purpose. His influence was widely felt by the Raptors 905 as his 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal will attest. Stokes came into the game leading the league in field goal percentage and backed it up by shooting 11 of 13 from the floor.
All five starters for Sioux Falls finished in double figures with DeAndre Liggins posting a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) as he backs up his Performer of the Week status. Defensively, the Skyforce have still not allowed a team to convert better than 50 percent from the field, holding the 905 to 45 percent shooting.
Toronto’s influence on their farm team also resonated, though not as deeply as the visitors’. Assignees Norman Powell (21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Delon Wright (15 points, 7 assists) were solid. Anthony Bennet was scoreless and only played the first 5:36 of the game and did not return.
These two teams will reunite for another contest on Saturday at Hershey Centre. The Skyforce will look to sustain their success in Canada as they have never lost in the provinces. Back in the CBA days a franchise based in Saskatchewan joined the league for one season (2001-02) and Sioux Falls won both contests up north.