Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse, Kyle Lowry express confidence in Pascal Siakam's ability in the clutch

The Toronto Raptors lost another heartbreaker on Friday, falling to the Utah Jazz at the buzzer.

Leading by five points with under 90 seconds to play, the Raptors were in the driver's seat to end their six-game losing streak. A string of clutch plays from All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell gave the Jazz a late three-point lead, but Toronto still had a chance to right its wrongs with one last shot to send the game into overtime.

MORE: Mitchell's clutch play leads comeback over Raptors

Star forward Pascal Siakam, who had the hot hand with 20 of his 27 points in the second half, tee'd up the game-tying shot attempt. He had already knocked down four 3-pointers in the contest and his energy and effort was the reason the Raptors were still in the game in the first place.

Playing in just his second game since returning from nearly a three-week absence due to the league's health and safety protocols, he already looked more comfortable on the floor, beginning to get into a rhythm.

When the shot went up, it looked like it was going to drop. After several bounces around the rim, the ball popped out, extending Toronto's losing streak to seven games.

This wasn't the first time Siakam had a great look at a game-tying or game-winning shot attempt, only for it to land off the mark. In fact, it was the fourth time it has happened this season.

The Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves are all beneficiaries of a tough bounce on a Siakam shot in the clutch.

"I just think those things even out, that some point usually in a season, they even out," head coach Nick Nurse stated following the loss. "So we have a lot of evening out to do, which is good to look forward to."

And floor general Kyle Lowry believes they will too, preaching that Siakam needs to continue to be confident in those moments because the team believes in him as a closer.

"I just told him we ride with him no matter what. ... He played his butt off," Lowry told the media. "And for a guy that's gonna be in that situation, you're gonna miss a few of 'em but you're gonna keep shooting 'em because we believe in what you can do."

Siakam's numbers in the clutch have taken a hit this season compared to last season, but his production in crunchtime last season proves that he can get back to the player that knocks down those big-time shots.

Pascal Siakam in the clutch
FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P%
2019-20 27-52 51.9 4-8 50.0
2020-21 6-22 27.3 1-3 33.3

The seven-game losing streak brings the Raptors to 17-24 on the season, but they're still only 3.5 games out of the No. 6 seed - the coveted final guaranteed playoff spot now that there will be two play-in games for the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds. If they're going to make a push for the playoffs, Toronto will need those bounces to start evening out sooner rather than later.

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