Santa Cruz Warriors Defeat Raptors 905 in Best Game of the Season

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Santa Cruz Warriors defeated the visiting Raptors 905 on Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente Arena 128-122.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The  Golden State Warriors unfortunately struggled to figure things out against the Boston Celtics at Oracle Arena on Wednesday, eventually losing 99-86 to one of the top teams in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Little did they know that just half an hour before, the Santa Cruz Warriors (23-17) had successfully closed out their game hosting the Raptors 905 (31-10) at Kaiser Permanente Arena, defeating the top team in the D-League 128-122.

Phil Pressey recorded a double-double with 28 points (10-16 FG) and 11 assists to go with his six steals. Cleanthony Early had his best game as a Warrior, finishing with 25 points (9-12 FG) and six rebounds. James Southerland added 24 points (8-16 FG) on 6-for-12 shooting from behind the arc.

The Raptors 905 — who were previously on a 9-game win streak — lose just their 10th game of the season, coming at the hands of the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Sea Dubs extend their winning streak to four after their victory over the 905, continuing their inspired push for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NBA D-League Western Conference. Santa Cruz is just one game behind the Sioux Falls Skyforce (25-17), who currently occupy the fourth seed. Santa Cruz holds the tiebreaker over Sioux Falls.

Surf City  shifts gears to prepare for Friday’s home game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (23-16), who currently occupy the second seed in the NBA D-League Eastern Conference behind the Raptors 905.

Game tips off at 7:00 p.m. PST. Fans not at KP Arena can catch the game via Facebook Live.


Still on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, Damian Jones posted 16 points (6-11 FG, 4-7 FT), three rebounds, five assists, and two steals. He was also a game-high +16.

Considering Jones was the only true center on the roster Wednesday due to Dennis Clifford and Chris Obekpa   being listed inactive, head coach Casey Hill graded Jones’ performance, saying he was happy with how the rookie went about his role on both ends of the floor.

"“I thought he did a good job. I thought for the most part, he was good,” said Hill.“Just his confidence and his ability to get used to their physicality and all that stuff — he was great.”"


While Obekpa is still nursing a knee injury he suffered on Feb. 24 in a game against the Reno Bighorns, Coach Hill explained that Clifford just needed a bit of rest, citing “a little wear and tear.” It’s safe to assume Clifford will be in uniform on Friday against the Mad Ants.

Many expected Elgin Cook to finally make his return to the lineup on Wednesday after suffering a highly debilitating ankle injury back in January, but Coach Hill felt inclined to hold Cook off a little while longer, later explaining the decision not to play him.

"“At this point, we’re trying to ease him back in, right? This was a pretty hotly contested game. Cleanthony did a really good job at the 4. I got Mikey (Mychel Thompson) there at the 4. We had to go small. There just wasn’t a right time for me to do it,” Hill said.“Maybe I’ll get him back out there on Friday, but the more rest on the ankle that we can get for him, the better.”"


The Santa Cruz Warriors   announced on March 2 that the team had conducted a three-team trade involving the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Northern Arizona Suns, acquiring the Returning Player Rights to Bay Area native Jabari Brown from the D-Fenders, as well as a 2017 fourth round draft pick from the Suns.

Brown, 24, is a 6-foot-5 guard that last played with the Jilin Northeast Tigers in China on averages of 33.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 32.9 minutes. The team announced Wednesday prior to their game with the Raptors 905 that Brown had been officially acquired and would be in uniform.

Brown made his debut coming off the bench for the Sea Dubs, finishing with nine points and one assist on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and 1-for-2 shooting from behind the arc. Coach Hill commented on Brown’s debut after the game.

"“He’s better than I thought he’d be. He brings a little bit of an edge,” said Hill.“I think he’s gonna give us a little bit of a different flavor, which is great. I’ll work him in, we’ll find a better rhythm for him as we get into this, but I was happy with what he brought.”"


When the Santa Cruz Warriors play the Texas Legends on Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), the first 1,500 fans in the door will receive a limited edition Casey Hill bobblehead, courtesy of Awe Sum Organics.

Hill talked about how he felt about getting his own bobblehead, praising the Warriors organization for their continued support.

"“I guess it’s an honor to be ‘bobbled,” Hill joked. “But I think it’s cool.”“It’s a great honor just to know they think of me as someone who is worthy of a bobblehead…and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me — this organization — and the opportunities I’ve gotten, so a bobblehead is a nice cherry on top of that sundae."