Title: On a night when few Raptors have it going, Pascal Siakam shows the wayOn a night when few Raptors have it going, Pascal Siakam shows the way
Date: February 19, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors pulling out a truly ugly win thanks in part to Pascal Siakam learning how to swing games without his scoring.
If there has been one thing missing from the Toronto Raptors’ identity as they find their way here in 2020-21, it’s been their longstanding ability to win ugly, win weird and win when it feels like maybe they shouldn’t. That isn’t the mark of every good team, but it’s been the mark of every good Raptors team, standing as an indicator of the quality of their defence at a given time and the certain expectation-busting je ne sais quoi they’ve possessed.
Friday was a reminder that, while encouraging, those games can be aesthetically displeasing. The Raptors’ 86-81 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves was by a good margin the lowest point total for any victorious team this season. You’d have to go back to the Raptors’ historically poor performance against the Miami Heat zone in January 2020 for the last time an NBA team won a regular-season game with fewer than 86 points.