Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors put together perhaps the worst first-half performance possible in their matchup against Kyle Kuzma and the Washington Wizards, as the home team went into the locker room trailing by almost 20 points against a team that played a game the night before in Brooklyn.
The only way this team had any shot of making this game close was Siakam pulling the rest of his squad up with him and becoming the All-NBA and All-Star player fans saw under the Nick Nurse regime. As he is one to do, Siakam took hold of this game and carried Darko Rajakovic’s team without OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr.
Siakam and the Raptors somehow pulled off a 111-107 win against the Wizards, getting to 5-5 on the season. Siakam recorded 39 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals while leading his team on 21-1 and 63-36 runs to close out the win in the second half.
Siakam hasn’t always been at his best this season as he tries to coexist with Barnes, but his individual brilliance will always shine through irrespective of coach, system, or supporting cast. If this wasn’t an All-Star performance from an All-Star player, I don’t know what was.
Pascal Siakam must be an All-Star after Toronto Raptors’ comeback vs. Wizards.
The Raptors need to kiss Siakam’s feet for bailing them out in this game. Washington led by 23 in the middle of the third quarter, Kuzma was unstoppable, and all Raptors not named Gradey Dick combined for zero made 3-pointers until the closing minute of the third stanza.
Trading Siakam for a collection of picks and players has been a popular philosophy percolating around Raptors Twitter and the NBA media landscape as a whole. Nights like tonight make one question the validity of such a move, as Siakam’s impeccable finishing at the rim and bulldog-like aggression woke a dormant Raptors team from hibernation.
While Scottie Barnes has been through a slightly rougher path lately, his own dominance in the comeback win against the Spurs proves that Toronto now has two different players capable of taking command of the offense, taking most of the shots, and coming through in the clutch. That’s exceedingly rare.
The Raptors may not have a team built to compete for a championship, and the Wizards might be as poorly constructed a team as there is in the Eastern Conference, but wins must always be celebrated. Wins led by one of the best in the game in Siakam, playing one of the best halves of his career, need to be savored even more.