Mississauga, Ontario – The Raptors 905 were loaded with talent with Chris Boucher, Malachi Richardson and former Raptor two-way player Malcolm Miller just back from injury, but they still fell to an undermanned Westchester Knicks 111-102. Without their leading scorer John Jenkins (24.8 PPG), who has been out the last four games with a foot injury, Westchester relied on their bruising 2-way contract power forward Isiah Hicks who finished the game with 24 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots to power their way to a win in Mississauga.
The game started slowly for the 905 as they immediately conceded eight points before getting their first bucket. Westchester used a balanced attack with Hicks tallying seven points and Zak Irvin six points in the frame. Overall, Westchester shot 59.1 percent from the field and 50 percent (3-6) from 3 while the 905 managed only 30 percent with a more respectable 3-of-7 from 3. In the second quarter Boucher began to make his presence felt, as he tallied all 14 of his first half points. The teams went into the dressing rooms knotted up at 59. The story of this half was Malcolm Miller seeing the floor for the first time since the 2018 Summer League, when he suffered a serious shoulder injury (a torn labrum) days before he was set to sign a contract with the Raptors.
The third quarter saw Boucher begin to wreck some havoc in the paint. Despite this he was often out-muscled when defending the post. On the glass he pulled down a game high 13 rebounds while in the paint he was able to block four shots in the quarter, including a stretch of two in one possession and three in a furious single minute of play. He also showed his unusual versatility by hitting two 3s in the quarter. Still however, solid overall play from Westchester, including six points in the quarter by substitute big man Stephen Zimmerman. Two of those points included easily backing Boucher down and hitting a jump hook from point blank range which gave Westchester an 83-76 lead at the close of the quarter. Other than Boucher no other Raptors could get their games going in the quarter.
Despite coming to the six-minute mark of the fourth down only six points the 905 could not claw back in this one losing 111-102. Looking at individual play, Malachi Richardson was unable to find his rhythm, and while pulling down 11 defensive rebounds (0 offensive) and making 3-of-8 three pointers, he only tallied 12 points for the game. He appeared unfocused and disconnected from the offense and was not a factor.
Malcolm Miller was still getting his legs under him and only contributed one 3-pointer and three total points during his 17 minutes of action. He still did contribute heady two way play however and should show solid performances in his off the ball role in future games. The player who really stamped his physical blue print on the game was Hicks. He loved making contact with 905 players early and often as he either barreled to the hoop or established deep post position on way to 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Boucher only managed two points in the clinching quarter and one rebound and put up some ill-advised threes late. After the game commenting on Boucher’s play 905 coach Jama Mahlalela mentioned that they have been instructing him “not to always go for the home run ball when four singles would suffice.” Although Raptors 905 freshly signed point guard Josh Adams did contribute 21 points, he also coughed up nine turnovers for the game. That included two critical turnovers on poor passes, including one that missed all the players and sailed high into the crowd within the final two minutes which all but sealed the game for Westchester.
Westchester, now 19-13 will next face the Memphis Hustle on Friday, January 25th while the Raptors 905 (17-12) will remain in Mississauga and play the Windy City Bulls (15-15) this Saturday, January 26th.