Facing elimination once again, the Toronto Raptors got a huge performance from Pascal Siakam. He was their on-court leader and has emerged as their voice with Fred VanVleet injured. Listen to the full recap and preview of Game 6 on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
- And one of those guys was Pascal Siakam, who I think, we have to give our roses to him. He has just been phenomenal since getting a lot of criticism after that game 3 performance that he had.
- Yeah. Oren Weisfeld shout him out. He pointed out a clip on Twitter. And I think that's one of the things that's going on in the Twitter Moments Bar, on one of the bookmark pages, is that all of them, or like all the Raptors are heading off into the locker room. And you've got Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa, they're all hunky dory, they're doing their things. But Pascal is approaching it like he's been there before. His face is stoic. There's not a single emotion on his face, just like during the 2019 run.
- Exactly. Right? He's like, this game's done, on to the next one. So I saw leadership from him right from the get go, and he pointed it out during his post game. He's like, you know what? I told everyone that this is going to be a very loud crowd. It's going to get rowdy at times. We have to just weather the storm, stay together. When you make a mistake, just move on. It's not a big deal.
- And communicate.
- Exactly. Communicate with each other, because that's what's going to get us through. He was, like just on the leadership standpoint, Fred's not out there and they're missing him in different ways. Granted, you know, like you said earlier, his game on the court isn't nearly close to where he would normally be, or where he'd want it to be. And I that's a reason why, other than the hip injury, I think you kind of felt this coming. That, you know, we're facing elimination, how much am I helping this team right now? Like am I really going to be a person that's going to be able to go out there and hit like five, six--
- And that takes leadership too.
- Exactly. Right? And that's why Fred VanVleet is so unique, as a player and as a human. And that's why he's the second coming of Kyle Lowry. But from a leadership standpoint, Pascal was, from the get go right to the ending, he was locked in, man.
- And I mean, not to go back to dwelling, because I do want to focus on Pascal here, but those comments that Siakam had stark contrast to the comments that Joel Embiid had. And we're talking about these two teams really being the antithesis of each other. Joel Embiid was asked about Harden's lack of aggression, and he's like, yeah I told him he needs to be him. And he, like, calling out Joel Embiid in the middle of the series when the Ben Simmons saga has finally ended for them, and here they go starting another one.
And you know, he also called out Doc. He said it needs to be on Doc to call him to basically call James Harden out and do that. And that, to me, is in stark contrast from the leadership that we see from Pascal Siakam, who's not saying, it's on my coach to tell these guys what to do. He's saying, no, we need to communicate together as the guys on the court, like just the words. It just felt like, oh yeah, these are two very distinct and different leadership styles. And we're seeing one of them work out.
And the other one, when it becomes a pressure rise situation, it starts to really crumble there. But I mean, Pascal, on the defensive end, on the offensive end, just absolutely everywhere, how he like-- I get tired for him watching the games. I'm glad that he has the additional day to rest. I think it'll be very helpful for him. But you know what? I think the Sixers could also benefit from that additional day and that doesn't make me very happy either.
- If Scottie Barnes gets a little bit healthier, I'll take that. I mean, in the end, if the Raptors are able to get a few days off, I think it's going to benefit them more than it will the 76ers. In some ways, you know, when you have a bad game during the regular season you just want to get back playing to forget about it. This is going to linger. They're going to see articles and links.
Stephen A Smith, all these guys, you know, Charles Barkley last night. He was saying that this was an embarrassing game. I don't like looking at inside the NBA too much, because I don't think it's very analytical. Like, I watched it last night and they weren't really even pointing out that the Raptors are actually healthier now, and that's why-- a good reason why they're able to do Vision 6'9.
But other than that, I wanted to see this, kind of the commentary that they would offer. And a lot of it was just about, like, the lack of energy from the 76ers. And that was so detrimental. You saw Pascal Siakam from the get go. All of them, they were so-- they were energized from-- I think it was probably mandated by Nick Nurse and company, that when you're out there, you play with energy, and you play with intensity.
And every single person who came in, whether it was Chris Boucher, or Precious Achiuwa, or Thad Young, or whoever it was, they came in ready to go. And you could not say that about so many 76ers. And a lot of that comes from the leadership of Pascal Siakam I love when his jumper-- you can kind of tell, it was around the 10-minute mark of the third quarter-- he had this, like, smooth, really controlled step back over Tobias Harris. And that's when you know that he's feeling himself, and that he's in a good spot with it. Because sometimes it gets like really, really wonky, and his arm's going this way, that way.
- Like, herky-jerky?
- Yeah, but it was very smooth. And like, that's how you know that he is feeling his jumper at the moment. And when that jumper is going, he becomes an unbelievable problem for not just the 76ers, for everyone in the NBA. And that's going to be one of his keys for the offseason is to really hone in on that and take that to the next level.
- Yeah. I mean a lot