(WINDSOR, ON) – The much anticipated, and first ever, meeting between teams from the NBA’s D-League and the National Basketball League of Canada took place in Windsor last night as the home town Express played host to the Raptors 905, development team of the Toronto Raptors. It was a showcase for both the talent of the NBLC and the premier appearance of the GTA team.
To no one’s surprise, the Raptors 905 dominated the proceedings for much of the night. The Express, with some players arriving in town mere days before the game, was a hodge-podge selection of recent acquisitions with just three players returning from the 2014-15 championship team.
The Raptors 905 jumped out to a 35-19 1st quarter lead and maintained at least a 20-point margin for much of the game. At half time, Windsor trailed 61-43, though they managed to be outscored by only two points in the 2nd quarter.
Head coach Tony Jones mixed his player selection as much as possible to keep the visitors guessing. However, new comer Adrian Moss took the reins as point guard and looked to be one of the few in mid-season form.
Moss played over 33 minutes and hit 5-of-10 from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 38 points, in front of the appreciative 2,500 in attendance. Another fresh face to the Express was Raheem Singleton who put up 26 points for Windsor.
The early season issue facing Windsor is shooting. Many opportunities were lost in the 1st half as the team shot a measly 29% from the floor, though they took advantage from the penalty stripe at an 90% clip.
Forward Chris Commons, a Day-1 veteran with the Express, contributed 14 points in the effort, as well as 6 helpers and 2 huge blocks. However, the Raptors 905 had double digit scoring from seven different players with Axel Toupane leading the team with 20.
Windsor fell off the pace by five more points in the 3rd quarter, but filled the tank in the 4th as they out scored the Raptors 905 45-25, falling just a rim short of tying the game at the buzzer.
With 3 seconds left to play, Singleton was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer from downtown. At the line, he sunk two and then purposely baked a shot off the rim where Commons grabbed the rebound and kicked it outside to Moss for a desperate try to tie.
Moss’s shot bounced twice on the rim and then harmlessly away as the horn sounded to end the game. The Express fell 117-114 in an unbelievable comeback effort.
Windsor will continue to look at their selection of players between now and their first regular season game on Boxing Day as they host the Orangeville A’s. Tip off is at 7:30 pm.