Pascal Siakam Bounces Back, But Toronto Raptors Fall to Atlanta Hawks
The Toronto Raptors continue to see growth from their young players, but the loss continue to rack up.
Seems like the perfect storm if you ask me.
With the idea of contention fading further and further away, Raptors fans have their fingers crossed that the team positions itself in the top-5 of the upcoming NBA Draft – one that has been billed to have a number of can’t-miss prospects. As the injury bug continues to hang over the sputtering Raptors, Toronto fell just short to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday evening, losing by a score of 108-103.
Signs of encouragement included a tremendous bounce-back performance from Pascal Siakam, who finished the night with 30 points, seven assists and six boards. With Lowry out of the lineup and Fred VanVleet still dealing with a hip flexor injury, the Raptors All-Star forward was tasked with running more of the offense.
“I think I like it. It’s something different and, obviously, it’s about getting more comfortable and just being out there and having a different role than just getting points or anything like that,” said Siakam. “I just think it makes me see the game a little more in a different way — you’ve gotta find a way to get other people involved and things like that. I think that’s fun and I’m learning. Obviously, I’m not a point guard by any means, but I just think that being in that position to kind of control the game, it gives you a different feel, a different vibe into the game and I kind of like it.”
In his third career start, Malachi Flynn scored a career-high 22 points, while the newest member of the team, Canadian Khem Birch added 13 points and seven boards off the bench. OG Anunoby had a very efficient game and finished with 15 points of his own.
“I think it says a lot and I think it’s really valuable for him to be out there,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on Flynn’s growing confidence and ability to handle himself in crunch-time. “[The] last two games he’s out there down the stretch in a real tough game at Madison Square Garden and then tonight he was pretty much our offence down the stretch, right?
“You kind of get to that point where he just kind of say, ‘Well, might as well go for it.’ We’re down 10, 12, might as well go for it and he starts banging in a couple and playing carefree and playing hard at the defensive end too, made some plays there. So it’s good, it’s good experience for him.”
The final stretch of the season is here and despite the continued accumulation of losses, it’s important to still look for the positives on a game-to-game basis.