Mississauga, Ontario – Toronto Raptor on Assignment Malachi Richardson scores 29, but it was not enough as the G League Eastern Conference second ranked Westchester Knicks defeated the Raptors 905 113–110. In an off night for Westchester’s leading scorer, and former NBA player, John Jenkins, Zak Irvin (22 points on 11–14 FGs) and Sekou Wiggs (18 points, 6-9 FG) flanked him with efficient scoring. Coming into the game averaging 24.9 points on a .609 true shooting percentage, Jenkins was held to 20 points coming on poor efficiency (6-17 FG, 2-9 3PT). Westchester was also without their two way player Isaiah Hicks who was suffering from a left hamstring strain.
In an overall close game, the win by Westchester came on the heels of a dominant first half in which they went to the locker room up 66-47. This advantage was predicated on solid ball movement allowing Westchester to tally 15 assists to the 905’s seven. This disparity translated into far superior offensive looks for the Knicks, which allowed them to shoot 63.2 percent from the field and 4-of-10 from three compared to the 905’s 42.4 percent and a poor 1-of-9 from distance. The game would have been further out of reach except for the solid performance by the 905’s two way player Jordan Loyd who tallied 14 first half points. His aggressive play saw him to the free throw line ten times by half time, making all ten attempts.
In the first half Richardson played very passive, appearing disconnected from the result. His second half play showed glimmers of the tantalizing shooting and scoring ability that made him a 2016 NBA first round draft pick when he scored 25 of his 29 points. This began with an and 1, and a pull up 3 in transition within the first two minutes of the third frame. Notching 11 points in the quarter Richardson paired with Loyd, who added 13, to bring the 905 to down ten points with a quarter to play. This set the stage for an exciting conclusion.
Richardson led an impressive come back in the final six minutes with the 905 down 102–94 by tallying ten points during that stretch. His offensive outburst included a few difficult drives where he used his length to finish over Jenkins and an extended three where he displayed his range out to 30 feet. The question lies despite that impressive close, why he did not inflict his will on the game earlier? Also, with his final game winning attempts he appeared to be having more fun – knowing he is signed to the Raptors – rather than a player totally locked in and focused battling for a call up. Consistent throughout. Loyd finished the game with an impressive 34 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds shooting 17-of-18 from the free throw line and 3-of-7 from three point range. Loyd and Richardson combined accounted for 63 of the 905’s 110 points. At times they appeared to be taking turns as pick and roll ball handlers rather than synchronizing their combined attack. This makes sense as Richardson has only been on assignment with the 905 since January 3rd, one day before the game.
The win improves Westchester to 16-8, 0.5 games behind the Long Island Nets for the top of the G League Eastern Conference standings. Their next opponent is the Capital City Go Go who they will play this Sunday. The Raptors 905 drop to 14-8 and will be in Philadelphia to play the Delaware Blue Coats next Tuesday.