Title: Raptors 905 builds connection between winning and development with third straight playoff run
Date: March 27, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors 905 program putting a higher priority on winning alongside the development plan, which has led to a third straight playoff appearance.
Of all the minor oddities the G League entails, none is a tougher adjustment than a two-minute overtime period. Factor in the single-elimination playoff format that leads all the way to the finals, and it’s difficult to find a game situation where the stakes are higher possession-to-possession than a G League playoff overtime game.
That’s why, as the jump-ball went up Tuesday and Malcolm Miller managed to tip it but not gain possession, Jordan Loyd’s eyes lit up. Loyd scrambled, lunged and corralled the opening possession of overtime, a huge difference in a two-minute period. Raptors 905 had come too far to this point for Loyd not to give everything for that ball. They’d fought through injuries and roster churn all year, shaken off a 4-of-24 shooting start to this game by locking down defensively against the Grand Rapids Drive and even weathered an 8-0 fourth-quarter run from the Drive that nearly precluded the extra frame.
“I gotta get it,” Loyd said.”That’s how it kind of felt with rebounding today, too, like, we have to get the ball. As simple as that sounds. I just wanted to rebound everything, ’cause I know Chris (Boucher) can’t do it by himself. I think it wasn’t so much the scoring. I saw my shot wasn’t falling the way I want it to so OK, let me rebound, let me get people involved, let me play good defence. I think everybody kind of had that mindset: What else can we do besides scoring the ball to help us win? I think we all had that mindset. It’ll take us where we’ve got to go.”