It’s an old saying in sports that there are no bright sides, but there can be signs of hope. the Toronto Raptors I lost them Third game in a row on saturday to Boston Celtics106-104, but as the team continues to slide, Pascal Siakam He broke out of his offensive slump.
While the Raptors have battled a number of losing slips this season, the atmosphere going into Saturday’s game was different as they were coming off a pair of particularly embarrassing losses.
Last Tuesday, the Raptors fell to dollars, 130-122. If giving up 130 points wasn’t bad enough, Milwaukee was without two All-Stars, Giannis Antikonmo And Chris Middleton. Furthermore, the Raptors allowed the shorthanded Bucks to score 44 points in the first quarter, the most Toronto has given up all season.
This was followed by an epic breakdown vs Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday. The Raptors drove by 18 and held a 14-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Minnesota closed out the game 23-7, led by D’Angelo Russell’s 16-point blast in the final frame.
While there are a number of reasons for the Raptors’ recent struggles, Siakam has been at the center of it.
Siakam lacks the typical offensive spice
Over his last 10 games, Siakam has been below his season average in terms of points and efficiency. Specifically, it has been his last four contests that have been plagued by offensive struggles. The Cameroonian averages 17.8 points on 41.8 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from outside the arc. These are all stark drops compared to his regular season averages.
It’s conjecture to say that if Siakam had played up to his potential in the NBA – or even a fraction of what he has this season – Toronto would have done better than 1-3 in their last four games but it’s not a far-fetched assertion.
Many of the Raptors’ recent losses have been weaknesses, so take a few more points from the team’s leading scorer and maybe the scores will swing.
The cause of the Siacam’s struggle isn’t too worrisome, though his aggressiveness hasn’t dissipated. It was more about not falling shots, exacerbated by the fact that Toronto suffered some of their worst losses this season.
Siakam looked like he lost to the Celtics
Despite the loss, Siakam had an impressive performance against the Celtics. Stuffing the stat sheet, the two-time All-NBA forward put up 29 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds on 61 percent of the field.
His night went on the wrong foot, as he opened game 1 of 5. With Fred VanVleet On the outside, he’s seen a slew of doubles — and even soft triples — forcing hard shots to the rim and rushing reads. However, he would proceed to drop his next five shots to close out the inning. His impressive second quarter included scoring or assisting on 20 of the team’s 30 points. He was responsible for 24 of the Raptors’ 57 first-half points.
Ultimately, this game showcased Siakam’s style of play off the paint, cementing the surreal growth he’s had this season, barring his last set of games. Twelve of his 29 points came from mid-range jump shots, and 10 were products of him coming out in transition.
After the match, Siakam also talked about the attention he is getting from the opposing team’s defense. He was able to mitigate that tonight by isolating defenders along the perimeter and dropping contested jump shots at the expense of paint touches.
Very few players in the league can score close to 30 points while rarely scoring in the paint during half-court sequences. Not to mention, Siakam had nearly three times as much, based on the idea that he’s the team’s most valuable and non-tradable business asset at the same time.
Siakam proved that the stretch of his lackluster offensive play was due to him missing attainable shots. Like the last 10 outings, Siakam got into his positions and executed his moves – the only difference was that he created them. In a make-or-miss league, all it takes is one stellar performance to remind people exactly what kind of player you are, as well as what your value is.
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