Title: Raptors 905 use ACC showcase to shift focus toward D-League championship
Date: March 13, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Raptors 905 putting aside the desire for individual achievements like NBA call-ups in an attempt to do something special: Win a D-League championship.
With the clock about to expire at the end of the third quarter, Raptors 905 backup point guard John Jordan let fly with a deep 3-point heave from the bottom of the Toronto Raptors logo on the Air Canada Centre floor. As the ball found the bottom of the net and the D-League record crowd of 18,099 roared. Jordan looked to the bench and flashed a wide grin.
This is how it’s gone for the 905 this season. Success was assumed, but the degree to which it would come was unknown, as is usually the case in the D-League. With the 905 already up 20 against the visiting Austin Spurs — they’d finish with a 116-87 victory — Jordan’s triple was a reminder that success can beget success, and that when things are going well, they have a tendency to snowball.
“Exactly,” Jordan said. “Shoot. Just rise up and let it go. We was hitting shots all night, you know, we was able to get good looks. When we see one guy run off a lot of shots, everybody gets the green light, everybody gets a lot of confidence. It keeps us rolling.”
Jordan’s bucket and the outcome of Monday’s twice-a-season ACC matinee run in stark contrast to the feeling around the 905’s last game at the ACC. Back on Dec. 20, the Grand Rapids Drive ran the 905 off the floor. At that point in the year, the 905 were still trying to figure out if they were as good as their 10-3 record suggested. The warnings of head coach Jerry Stackhouse through an earlier winning streak manifested then in the team’s ugliest defeat of the year.
Now, it’s not just the team’s confidence and play under the bright lights that’s changed.