Title: Pascal Siakam, Raptors overcome center issues against old pal Jonas Valanciunas
Date: February 8, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ overcoming a huge night from old pal Jonas Valanciunas for a spirited comeback win.
Whether a teammate or opponent, the Toronto Raptors have always feared having Jonas Valanciunas on the court in the fourth quarter.
With three minutes to play in the third on Monday, Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins removed Valanciunas from the game. This was normal procedure, as Valanciunas had played nine consecutive minutes and was in just his second game back after five games off because of the league’s health and safety protocols.
The timing could not have been better for the Raptors. Valanciunas had just scored consecutive baskets and dished an assist to Xavier Tillman before that. To that point, he’d been a monster, scoring 22 points on 14 used possessions and pulling in 17 rebounds, nearly as many as the Raptors as a team. The Grizzlies had won his 25 minutes by 12 and built a nine-point lead with his dominant third-quarter stretch.