Coming off their six-game road trip, in which they finished 2-4, Raptors fans had two immediate concerns regarding their team: the defensive efficiency and the play of Pascal Siakam.
These concerns were somewhat quelled in the Raptors’ 102-90 victory over the Washington Wizards Sunday night, as the team and their former all-star showed the Raptors’ faithful what this team is capable of.
Siakam had his best showing of the season Sunday against the Wizards, scoring 31 points (24 in the first half) on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.
One potential reason for this breakout performance could’ve simply been the matchup. Siakam has historically put up great numbers against the Wizards, scoring a career-high 44 points in February 2019 and then later matching that figure in near the end of the 2020-21 season.
Last night, the Wizards simply didn’t have an on-ball defender at the forward spot that could disrupt Siakam.
“You look at the options they have, it’s Kyle Kuzma … then there is a guy named Deni Avdija coming off the bench and his name is literally Denny’s. He was feasting on him like breakfast,” said Will Lou during The Raptors Show With Will Lou on Monday.
“I think Pascal will have advantages there, too. Especially with teams who don’t have one-on-one defender, especially in the forward spot, Pascal is able to shoot over of a lot of these guys, get to wherever he wants. I think the mid-range game is clicking for him right now, he looks really comfortable in that area,” said Lou.
Another potential reason for Siakam’s performance is courtesy his two-month old niece.
“It was the first time, on Saturday, this weekend, that he saw his niece apparently she peed on him. These are Pascal Siakam’s words … and he called it the ‘Fred Jr. effect’, so there is your humble hustle,” said Alex Wong, a co-host on The Raptors Show.
Although Siakam led the way in this particular contest, it’s production by committee that will carry the Raptors forward this season.
“What I like to see from the Raptors is a balanced attack in terms of who has the advantage that night, go through that guy. We’ve seen Fred (VanVleet) at various points of the season be that number one guy, we’ve seen OG (Anunoby) at times this season be the number one guy … MSG, that was a great game for him against the Knicks, 36 points,” said Lou.
Watch the full conversation about Siakam’s re-emergence on the latest episode of The Raptors Show with Will Lou, which can now be streamed live daily on Sportsnet’s YouTube channel. A replay of Monday’s episode can be found below.