Pascal Siakam raves over his team's response vs. Hornets: 'I'm super proud of them'
After another monster performance versus the Hornets on Tuesday, Raptors star Pascal Siakam discussed how proud he was of his teammates for how they battled and touched on the importance of young players gaining playoff experience. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
PASCAL SIAKAM: What up.
- So when you find out Fred's out and Scottie's out, what goes on in your mind? [? What ?] are you thinking? Is it an opportunity? What kind of responsibility do you feel you got to take on?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, I think definitely an opportunity. I feel like I've been getting better. I've been preaching this, just trying to be an overall player. I feel like I can do that most nights, just being the best player out there and making my teammates better. And I think that that's the road that I'm trying to take on. And obviously, with Fred and Scottie out it makes it even-- Not easier, but you have to do it, right?
So yeah, it was good to have that. And then the guys played super well. They stepped up. We talked about the last game and coming in with energy and focus. And just from that last game, we didn't want to have the same thing. And I think the guys responded, I'm super proud of them for that. And just continue to get better as a team. Malachi, Dalano, everyone coming in just playing well.
- Pascal, you've obviously been getting reps as a primary creator for a while now. For years. But this year more than ever, you're doing it without a traditional point guard on the floor with that second unit. Tonight with the starters. How much more comfortable are you getting in that role?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Getting more and more comfortable. I think the more I do it the better I get, like with anything that I do. I feel like, put my mind to it, work hard at it, watch film, get the reps to do it and I believe that I can get better at it. And that's what I'm doing, just continuing to get better, trying to make reads and understand where everyone is at on the floor. And I think it's-- Not easier, but just knowing that I'm going to get the attention regardless, right?
So I think like making the plays, it just comes naturally because they're open most of the time. But yeah, just continuing to try to be the best player I can be.
- You feel like the universe just doesn't want you to have this triple-double?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, man. Yeah, that's funny. Yeah, I think I have a thing with triple-doubles, you know? Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, I want to blame Chris but I'm not going to do that to Chris. We want him to rebound, so that's good. It is what it is but I don't even know what happened. In my head, I was like, "Oh, yeah, you got a triple-double." And then I think they came to Nick, I don't know if it was like four days after. It was something crazy, right? I didn't even think that happened.
That had to be a record. Because I don't know if they check other things like that. But hey, man, it is what it is. For me, as long as we win, man, I'm cool. To be out there and getting wins is more important to me.
- There were some moments tonight where, among your assists or even among your [INAUDIBLE], you could see-- It really felt slow for you. It looked like you were digesting everything and making the reads very patiently. Does it feel like things are going slower at all for you now?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I've been working with Earl. We always have a lot of film and we watch film, and I think that something he's always trying to tell me is be patient. And I can see that in myself, I feel like I always have an advantage and I want to just go right away. But I think being patient, watching the defense, and the more comfortable I get with more help the better I'll get with reads.
Yeah, we've been working a lot on being patient and not playing too fast, not too slow, just being in a [? mid mode. ?] And then just knowing where to go, go to my spots and if they help, pass it.
- How does Fred compare to Kyle as a coach when he can't play?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, a coach? Fred's good. I think he's always good even when he's playing. When he's not, I think he always sees the floor out there, he knows what's happening and he's definitely another guy, another voice. I don't know what comparison [? we'd call. ?] But I know that Fred has been really good at that, and even when he's playing he's always seeing the floor.
- When you're watching tape of point guards and stuff trying to improve your playmaking, are you watching traditional point guards like Fred, or are you watching guys at your size like LeBron or whatever trying to make those decisions?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, you got to watch guys that have the ball in their hands and that commands the defense. I don't think I'm a traditional point guard. By no means. I don't think my handle is that great, I don't think all that. But I just feel like, having the attention, there's just reads that you can make. And I think all those guys that command attention, those are people that you can watch.
- How important are these games against the teams in this bunched-up mix in the Eastern Conference?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I think we have, what, six of those games coming up or whatever? Yeah, it's important. We are right there, you go in a little slump like and it could be the end of the season for you, right? So I think we're conscious of that and playing against really good teams, especially in the East. So every night is a battle and I think that we've got to be conscious of that and go into these games knowing that they're really important and we've got to give our all. And I think that's what's most important, give our all and live with the results.
- I think you guys are 5 and 2 on the second night of back-to-backs this year. I think that's right. It's close enough. That's pretty good. Yeah, I know. I got to ask. Is it just coincidence? What does it tell you about your team? I think it was 3 and 13 last year.
PASCAL SIAKAM: I don't know what it says, but I think one thing that I know we learned this year is that when we don't have the focus and we don't come in playing like we're supposed to play, it shows. It's literally day and night. Especially if we lose a game before, you always want to bounce back. So I think all of those things come into place, and just wanting to be the best that we can be. And if that [? falls ?] in the back-to-back and we can play well, that's great.
- Let's go online for you, Pascal. We'll start with Oren.
- Hey, Pascal. Congrats on the win. You guys are obviously in the midst of a playoff push here, you have a young team. So is the team you just played, the Hornets. They're also a young team making a playoff push. As someone who got playoff reps pretty early in your career before the championship season, can you just speak about how important those reps were to you and how they helped you improve so that when that championship run came you were a little more ready?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I think it's experience. Just being in those moments, that comes with even life in general, once you go through something you have-- Not an advantage, but you know what to expect. Because I think the regular season is really hard and it's tough, but the playoffs is on another level. So being through those battles and understanding what it's like, you just know. And it comes with experience and years in the league.
- Can you speak a little bit about what about the playoffs changes the most for you? Is it the physicality, is it the pace, what is the biggest challenge?
PASCAL SIAKAM: You focus on one team most of the time and you have, like, how many games, right? It's a lot of games. So there's a lot of game planning. Not that that doesn't happen in the regular season, but it's on another level during the playoffs and you focus on one team for I don't know how many games. And I think that does bring the intensity. It's win or go home. I think that in itself brings the intensity up.
- All right. Thanks, Pascal.
- We'll wrap up with Mike.
- [SPEAKING FRENCH]
PASCAL SIAKAM: Hey, Mike. I didn't think you were going to be here today.
PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, that's it? All right, thank you.