Pascal Siakam bounces back for Raptors, but the losing streak goes on

Title: Pascal Siakam bounces back for Raptors, but the losing streak goes on
Date: January 6, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors showing signs of life, just not enough to end their terrible start to the season.

Basketball is an unkind game. Playing poorly and nearly winning does not guarantee that playing better will result in wins. Plug one hole and another opens up. Plug them all, within reason, and variance may rear its head. Seasons can be determined by a short sequence of games at the beginning or end of the season; unfortunately, the ebbs and flows in the whims of the basketball gods do not abide by such sequencing.

And so it was that the Toronto Raptors turned in what you could reasonably call one of their best three performances of the season on Wednesday, only to lose 123-115 to the Phoenix Suns.

There is a bit of damning with faint praise there, to be sure. The Raptors have played well for parts of each of their seven games despite the 1-6 record, but playing kind of well is not the same as playing well, let alone playing as has come to be expected. Even against a very fun and capable Suns team playing at home, it’s another loss, one a spirited late comeback attempt couldn’t avoid. And variance alone is never quite a holistic explanation, as there’s always more you can do to insulate yourself from an onslaught of 3s.

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