1 stud and 1 dud as Pascal Siakam, Raptors fall against Bulls

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors appeared to be getting healthier when they squared off against DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls, as Fred VanVleet returned to the lineup. Unfortunately, the loss of Gary Trent Jr. due to a toe injury meant that role players like Chris Boucher and Thad Young had to step up.

The Raptors went into halftime feeling good about themselves. The shots were falling, Khem Birch was productive, and the Bulls were off-center from 3-point range. Whatever Billy Donovan said in the locker room must have motivated them, because Nick Nurse and Toronto looked completely discombobulated.

The Raptors ended up falling in defeat 113-99. The Raptors could’ve moved within a half-game of the No. 5 seed if they took down a Chicago team with two wins in their prior 10 contests. This win helped the Bulls put some distance between themselves and Toronto.

While the start of the game looked promising, Toronto completely capitulated in the second half. The Raptors had to overcome some disappointing performances in this game. They did have a few standouts that played well amid all the poor shooting.

24. Final. 99. 81. 113

Pascal Siakam was the stabilizing force for the Toronto Raptors.

This game was going to be an uphill climb given how DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic can stuff the stat sheet. The only way that the shorthanded Raptors were going to stay in this game involved Siakam exploding on offense. He didn’t carry Toronto to a win, but he made life tough on the Bulls’ defense.

Siakam led the team with 22 points on 8-14shooting to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Siakam didn’t have his best night as a playmaker, but he looked comfortable finishing at the rim and getting to the line against a Bulls team that has some standout frontcourt players.

Siakam’s efficiency numbers can be excused as the product of Toronto playing without two of their three best 3-point shooters in Anunoby and Trent. He was asked to be nearly superhuman in this game given the lack of scoring talent, and he did his best to give this team the spark they needed.

VanVleet tried to shoot the Raptors back into this game, but he was laboring through a tough knee injury. While Pascal did not get a ton of support from the rest of his teammates in this game, his consistency and effort should help Toronto feel even more comfortable about him generating a good chunk of the offense in the postseason.

Thad Young didn’t provide much offense for the Toronto Raptors.

Young has quickly earned Nurse’s trust, as he was closing games for Toronto down the stretch in wins against Minnesota and Denver. However, Young hasn’t been scoring at his usual clip since the trade. That was evidenced in a tough performance against Chicago where he was the worst big man on the floor.

Young, who has not scored 10 points in a game since March 1, recorded just four points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.  It was tough not to put Scottie Barnes here given the fact he turned the ball over so much, but Young’s struggles helped him win this dubious honor.

Young has been doing a ton of great things for this Raptors team as a glue guy and veteran presence. However, if he’s going to be given a steady diet of rotation minutes to justify the trade, we need to see just a bit more from him with regards to putting the ball in the basket.

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