Title: Raptors finding crunch-time success with Kyle Lowry screening for Pascal Siakam
Date: March 8, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors closing out another game with a Pascal Siakam-Kyle Lowry pick-and-roll, a choice that says a lot more about the team than it might seem.
SACRAMENTO — Kyle Lowry stood along the sideline after a timeout, readying to inbound the ball. Serge Ibaka presented himself, one of a few options Lowry deemed too risky in a tie game with 34.3 seconds to play. Lowry’s decision to use the Toronto Raptors’ final timeout of the game wasn’t so much about the threats he saw as he surveyed the floor, though, it was about the opportunities.
Well before a five-second count forced his hand, Lowry called the timeout. As he walked back to the bench, he suggested a different play call to head coach Nick Nurse. Nurse is a collaborator by nature and Lowry is as intelligent a player in this situation as they come. If Lowry sees something, Nurse is inclined to trust it. That is, after all, why Lowry is the trigger-man on so many of these high-leverage inbounds.
“I just didn’t wanna force it,” Lowry said. “It’s a situation where you’ve gotta be smart. I could have thrown it to Serge, it could have been a discombobulation, but I just wanted to make sure we got set. That’s why he had me taking the ball out, to make the right decision. I thought it was the right decision.”
What Lowry saw when sizing up the Sacramento Kings defence was something he and the Raptors have seen a lot of late: a chance for Pascal Siakam to attack with a guard screening for him.