Big Day for Pascal Siakam, Raptors Pushes Nets to Brink of Elimination
For the first time in the history of the Toronto Raptors franchise, they are up 3-0 in a playoff series.
After scratching one out on Wednesday, there was no question as to who was the more dominant team on Friday afternoon, as the Raptors obliterated the Nets by a score of 117-92. In what was Pascal Siakam’s breakout game, the Raptors All-Star led the way with 26 points and eight rebounds to bring Toronto within one win of a second round appearance.
“Being in this environment, and trying to get used to everything that’s happening, and making this kind of like home, it’s been complicated,” Siakam said. “For us, it’s getting accustomed to it, just continuing to treat it like every single day . . . it doesn’t feel like it’s a home game or away game. The colours change in the arena, but that’s about it. It’s just focusing on the game, and the game-plan, just coming out and executing, and doing what we want to do.”
It was yet another balanced attack as the Raptors received contributions from just about everyone in the lineup.
Fred VanVleet continued his incredible playoff run with 22 points, five, boards and five assists. Kyle Lowry finished three assists shy of a triple-double and Serge Ibaka added 20 points and 13 boards off the bench. After a huge performance in Game 2, Norman Powell chipped in with 11 points in the win.
“Look, I’ve said it for four years now,” said VanVleet following the win. “When I’m not shooting well it sounds like cliche garbage, and when I am it sounds like what I should be saying, but it’s the same confidence that I always have, and the ball is just going in for me right now, so just keep trying to find my spots and keep improving.
“I’m working my butt off, I’m working in between games, and practice . . . just keep continuing to work on my offensive game and find my spots and my teammates are doing a great job of finding me.”
The Raptors are focused on taking care of business in Game 4 on Sunday night, but until then, Head Coach Nick Nurse is pleased with the level of play he has seen from his team.
“I like the intensity we’re playing with, I think we’re taking most possessions seriously, right?” Nurse said. “Not really paying attention to the score, we’re playing defence with some intensity and trying to do the coverages and execute the game plan. I thought offensively tonight we made really good choices.”
If the Raptors are to advance to the second round, they will face the winner of the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers series.