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The only really important thing from a Raptors perspective from the team’s win over the New York Knicks on Friday was that Pascal Siakam looked like the guy who started the season on a tear and not like the player who was finding his way a bit after returning from a long-term injury. Siakam turned in perhaps his best game since that return (the Oklahoma City victory would be the only other viable candidate) and just took over down the stretch. He scored from different spots and in different ways and the Knicks couldn’t figure out how to stop him.
Siakam was even given the old DeMar DeRozan ISO special to closeout the game and unlike DeRozan, who often went straight to the hoop or into the mid-range, Siakam pulled up and buried a three-pointer to put away the Knicks.
Knicks fans must hate Kyle Lowry a lot right? They should have traded for him but panicked and backed out and since then he’s been one of the NBA’s winningest players as the Knicks have sunk in the standings. He also seems to light them up and absolutely destroyed them on Friday. Siakam gets an obscenely low amount of free throw trips for a player of his caliber, but Lowry has the respect of the officials (even though he’s always yelling at them). Lowry had 14 free throw attempts, two off of his career high (set as a rookie in Memphis and as a Raptor about three calendar years ago).
If anybody has located the OG Anunoby who looked so good only a week or so ago, please let us know. The Raptors need to get him back in the flow.
Also, can anybody explain why the Knicks don’t start Mitchell Robinson? Anyone? It makes no sense. And how come Robinson has learned that chasing blocks is stupid, being in the right position is far more effective, but Hassan Whiteside can never quite get that? It sucks for fantasy basketball players who have Robinson, but it’s good for the Knicks long-term — if they ever play him, that is.
Have been asked a lot about this, so to repeat what Gumby had from New York, Nick Nurse and his staff will head to Chicago to coach one of the all-star teams if Toronto has the second-best record in the East on Feb. 2 (Milwaukee is ineligible because you can’t go two years in a row). Nurse previously went as Dwane Casey’s lead assistant a couple of years ago in Los Angeles. Nurse said he’d love to go, especially because he has so many ties to Chicago (which is close to his native Iowa).
A few things I forgot from previous game (Philly): Siakam taking the extremely solid defender Mattias Thybulle off of the dribble and scoring over him; Think the Sixers missed Joel Embiid? Toronto outscored the Sixers 52-18 in the paint (that said, we repeat here that the Raptors limit teams at a near league-best level from scoring in the paint);
Lowry’s celebrating as VanVleet’s daggers were still in the air. VanVleet’s gone from Lowry’s rookie (with the veteran taking the youngster under his wing), to a peer and good friend. Just an opinion, but inking Lowry to a one-year extension makes it more likely that VanVleet sticks around this summer. They pair really well together on both ends of the floor.
And one more. It was really cool of Embiid to give his Cameroonian countryman, Siakam, a big shoutout when Embiid was asked for his own thoughts about making the all-star starting lineup. Embiid quickly talked about himself, before getting more expansive about how pleased he is to see Siakam starting and then mentioned they both had only been playing basketball for less than a decade, which is truly wild.
1 — Pascal Siakam
2 — Kyle Lowry
3 — Marcus Morris
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