Pascal Siakam played a leading role in the Toronto Raptors' win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
Not only did he score a game-high 30 points, Siakam grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked three shots in his 34 minutes on the court. It was a much needed all-around performance from Toronto's star, as the Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak at home.
Siakam, however, did the bulk of his damage in the first half. Whereas he combined to score 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field in the first and second quarter, he was limited to five points on 2-for-13 shooting in the third and fourth quarter.
According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN, Siakam was critical of himself post-game for not being aggressive enough in the second half.
"I think it's just coming in with more urgency," Siakam said. "That's something I kinda feel like I have to get better at, just every single night having that focus and playing hard. It's easy to relax and get comfortable but you can't be comfortable if you want to be great."
"It's on me to make sure that I keep my foot on the gas," he continued. "And if you want to be great you have to be great every single quarter."
MORE: 10 thoughts from Toronto's win over Brooklyn
To Siakam's credit, he set the tone in the first quarter with 14 points and three assists. He was in attack mode from the jump. He drew two quick fouls on Nets forward Taurean Prince in the opening minutes and was relentless attacking mismatches.
He continued to do the same in the second quarter, but Siakam took his foot off the gas in the third quarter.
Fortunately for the Raptors, Norman Powell stepped up in a big way in the second half, punctuated by a windmill dunk that served as the knockout punch.
SHOWTIME POWELL pic.twitter.com/mlr7SJxK3o- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 15, 2019
Even so, it was a bounce-back game for Siakam, who hadn't scored more than 24 points since Toronto's win over the Utah Jazz on Dec. 1. He credited some of his and the team's improvement to simply playing harder.
"We can't be cool out there," Siakam said, per Lewenberg. "We've gotta grind it out. We've gotta play hard-nosed basketball, run around, dive on the floor like Kyle (Lowry) did. It was just better. It feels good to play that way."
With the win, the Raptors advance to 17-8 on the season. They are now only 0.5 games behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Raptors are back in action on Monday, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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