Photo credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Pascal Siakam had some choice of words for Nick Nurse after he was benched during the fourth quarter of the Toronto Raptors’ disappointing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers back on March 21st. The initial report of a fine was denied by the Raptors as they discussed his possible punishment internally, but Siakam has backed up his talk this past week.
The Raptors won just one of their four games last week. The competition was tough but Pascal Siakam brought his A-game in each of those games:
Monday’s 117-99 loss to the Rockets: 21 points (9-18 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2-3 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
Wednesday’s 135-111 win over the Nuggets: 27 points (8-16 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 8-9 FT), eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.
Friday’s 104-100 loss to the Suns: 26 points (8-17 FG, 0-6 3Pt, 10-11 FT), 11 rebounds, six assists, one block and one steal.
Sunday’s 122-117 loss to Portland: 26 points (8-16 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 8-10 FT), eight rebounds and two assists.
The Raptors’ rotation has returned from health and safety protocols over this four-game stretch, with Siakam stepping into the centre position of the starting lineup.
He may be undersized at that position, but looking at his numbers over the past four games, it’s clear Siakam is comfortable in that role. Even in the losses, it seems like Siakam is having more fun and smiling on the floor more often.
It’s tough to watch Siakam put up these great performances when they don’t translate to wins, but looking at the Raptors’ upcoming schedule gives reason for some optimism. Toronto will matchup against the Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers — who will more than likely still be without Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
The Raptors may be 18-28, but that record could start to look a lot better sometime soon. Especially If Siakam keeps playing the way he has as of late with a lighter upcoming schedule.
It takes a lot of guts to call out your head coach, but Siakam walks it like he talks it and showed why he belongs on the floor during all the most important parts of the game.