Pacers battle Raptors as Pascal Siakam visits familiar foe 

Pascal Siakam is scheduled to face his former team for the first time on Wednesday night when the Indiana Pacers visit the host Toronto Raptors.

Siakam, a seven-plus-season Raptors stalwart, was dealt to Indiana on January 17. He ranks third in franchise history in rebounds (3,324) and fifth in scoring (8,875 points) and games played (510). Siakam has also won a championship with Toronto in 2019. Both Indiana and Toronto are following Monday’s losses.

Siakam contributed to the Pacers’ 111-102 loss to the host Charlotte Hornets with 18 points, while the Raptors were humiliated 122-99 by the visiting San Antonio Spurs. The respective coaches of both squads expressed disapproval of their subpar performances. A comparable response was observed in Toronto.

“It was a lack of effort,” stated the Raptors’ head coach, Darko Rajakovic. “A lack of intensity was readily apparent.” It was as a result of insufficient focus. Everything from the outset to the conclusion of the contest. Prolonged lapses have led to uncomplicated scoring and point accumulation.

Monday was a disappointing scoring night for Toronto’s Scottie Barnes. In addition to seven points on 3-of-15 shooting, he contributed nine rebounds and nine assists. Rajakovic stated, “I felt that (Barnes) melded in with the overall team performance, which is not the calibre of play that we anticipate.”

Toronto appeared intimidated by Spurs rookie prodigy Victor Wembanyama, who led the team in scoring with 27 and accumulated 14 rebounds in addition to a career-high 10 blocked shots. “His early blocked shots simply altered our approach to the interior,” explained Rajakovic. “We approached the assault with reluctance.”

Gradey Dick, an offensive newcomer for Toronto, led the team with 18 points. Dick stated that the most important piece of advice he has ever received from the veterans when he first arrived here was that the entire season would be filled with ups and downs; savour the ups while also learning from the downs. Undoubtedly, the manner in which we commenced and executed the task is disheartening; however, it is unquestionably a valuable learning opportunity, especially for myself.

On Monday, Bruce Brown, who was acquired for Siakam, recorded 12 points for Toronto. Tyrese Haliburton, a hero for the Pacers, expressed his discontentment sharply following the defeat at the hands of Charlotte.

“We must mature as a group at some juncture,” Haliburton stated. “I cannot continue to perform poorly. Everything we must do is improve our performance from top to bottom. Simply put, we must mature as a group. It is imperative that we secure victories in these contests.”

The Hornets were defeated by 13 points and 12 assists from Haliburton. Haliburton, the NBA leader in assists per game (11.7 this season), and Siakam have been gradually developing a rapport.

Siakam elaborated that he can only say that he must maintain a state of perpetual readiness, and rhythms must also be established. The teams will meet for the second time this season on Wednesday. On November 22, 2013, Toronto defeated Indiana 132-131 in Indianapolis. Siakam led the Raptors with 36 points and 10 rebounds.