Two wins in a row! Are things finally looking up for the Toronto Raptors? With a slate of winnable games coming up, it might very well be. And if Pascal Siakam can continue playing like he did last night, good things will surely come.
1. Siakam: Good!
Pascal Siakam was excellent last night, dropping 31 points on 21 shots. And guess what? He’s been good for a while, now!
Over his last eight games, Pascal Siakam is averaging 22.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 block and shooting 53.8% on twos, 35.5% from three, 76.7% free throws.— Vivek Jacob (@vivekmjacob) December 6, 2021
(I’m not going to share the comparison between these numbers and Siakam’s All-NBA season, because you already know the deal.)
Post-game Siakam shared the story of holding his niece for the first time on Saturday, and her peeing on him. The reason for his success? Hopefully not, as I wouldn’t envy him trying to recreate that before every game!
2. Banton-Boucher connection
Khem BIrch’s injury has robbed us of seeing the full complement of Canadian Killer Bs playing together, but how about the play of Banton and Boucher last night? Three of Boucher’s five buckets came off of Banton dimes, including this beauty in the third:
Good ol' fashion Canadian content pic.twitter.com/4WXTPL80OR— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 6, 2021
It’s too early to say that the bench is no longer a liability — the Wizards were pretty disinterested last night — but hopefully it’s trending in the right direction.
3. Meditate on it
Speaking of Boucher, he had a wonderful post-game press conference where he talked about his struggles this season, and how his up-and-down play led to his up-and-down minutes. He took it all on himself, rather than blaming any circumstance or coaching decision, and said when he watches the film — and he says he does two film a day — he can see why he’s not playing.
He also talked about how meditating more, including pre-game, is helping centre him and get him back to being himself. It’s pretty neat to see how many players are taking to things like meditation and yoga to settle their minds and get themselves ready to play.
4. Sneaker fun
Faizal continues to do fun things with the Raptors to help fill our off days.
I can’t remember the first pair of real basketball shoes I ever owned, but the first ones I actually remember caring about were Kevin Johnson Converse. Google them and tell me there’s a more 1990s shoe! Straps and mesh everywhere.
As for the Raps, this team might be a good as some of the recent Raptors teams, but they’re still a pretty fun and lovable group. Certainly more lovable than some of those early aughts Raptors teams.
5. Siri, look up “wrist-slap” in the dictionary
That’s the definition of slap-on-the-wrist, but what can the league really do? It knows full well that every team does this exact same thing. The Bulls and Heat got the “punishment” apparently because they made it too obvious.
Given their hot starts, I’m pretty sure the Heat and Bulls are just fine with giving up a second round pick!