Chris Boucher tallied a triple-double as the Raptors 905 staved off elimination by defeating the Grand Rapids Drive 91–90 in an overtime thriller at Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Tuesday night.
Their next opponent will be the Long Island Nets, who finished first in the Eastern Conference of the NBA G League this season.
Boucher’s triple was courtesy of 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks.
Jordan Loyd added 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals, and Wade Baldwin IV scored 17.
The Drive came into the game having gone 8–2 over their last 10, while the 905 went 5–5, but despite the single-game elimination format of the playoff first round, momentum didn’t seem to be a factor.
Kalin Lucas and Marcus Thornton scored 20 points each to lead the Drive.
Both Todd Withers (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Johnny Hamilton (12 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles for Grand Rapids.
Kyle Collinsworth was out (fifth metatarsal fracture), but the 905 are hoping he may be able to return later on in the postseason.
In the two-minute overtime, Boucher and Loyd ran things for the 905, scoring on multiple fast break chances, but the Drive wouldn’t relent and answered every big play with one of their own.
With 11.5 seconds remaining, the 905 up 91–90, the Drive went to Lucas, who drove the lane and kicked the ball to Withers at the arc for a clean look. The shot missed, and the 905 escaped after inbounding the ball to Boucher to run out the final second.
The final 12 minutes were, fittingly, tightly contested in a matchup that spoke to the intensity of a playoff game.
With the 905 leading, Grand Rapids head coach Ryan Krueger picked up a technical foul midway through the quarter, lighting a fire that saw his team subsequently go on a 7-0 run in the span of a 1:13.
Not to be outdone, the 905 responded in kind, with Boucher waking up and scoring a quick two, then slamming home a monster put-back on the following possession that sent Paramount Fine Foods Centre into a frenzy and increased the lead to 83–77 with 3:48 to play.
Even so, the game was knotted up at 85 after a spirited 8–2 run by Grand Rapids, and it was Thornton taking the final shot for the Drive with 2.5 seconds to play, which bounced hard off glass.
The grind-it-out theme continued in the third quarter as both teams kept up a high level of defensive pressure, and as such neither one was able to pull away. The back-and-forth style was highlighted by a Loyd floater to end the frame, which caused the arena to explode in cheers until it was ruled a charge moments later.
MiKyle McIntosh, who had zero points on 0–1 shooting after the first 24 minutes, hit two triples to help the 905 keep pace with the Drive as each squad struggled for every single bucket.
In the second, some of the good looks the 905 were generating finally began to fall (upping their field goal percentage to 32), and Boucher, who was being stymied by Grand Rapids’ defence, was able to get on the scoreboard with 4:37 left in the quarter to cap off a 6–0 run that brought them to within two of the Drive.
From there, the momentum began to shift, with the 905 kicking up their defensive intensity and creating more transition opportunities crowned by a vicious Baldwin hammer with 2:52 remaining.
The 905 outscored the Drive 29–18 in the quarter, and found themselves down 43–41 at the half. Malcolm Miller and Baldwin had 13 points a piece, but the club’s lead scorer Boucher shot just 1–8 for two points.
Lucas scored 15 points in 14 first half minutes to lead his squad.
This was the last home game the 905 will play unless they make the G League Finals.