Throughout the series’ first three games, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 36.2% from the floor, including 16.6% from deep on 2-of-11 attempts. Those numbers were a far cry from what we saw throughout the course of the regular season – 22.9 points, 45.3% from the floor, including 35.9% from outside.
And for one half, the struggle continued Saturday for Siakam, who made 4-of-11 before he ultimately changed his offensive approach and helped propel his team. After halftime, Siakam, on both ends of the floor, helped the Raptors outscore the Celtics 32-24 in the third quarter and heated up in the final frame.
He netted 14 second-half points. Siakam took the initiative offensively and instead of settling for midrange looks or another 3-pointer – he finished 2-of-13 from behind the arc – the All-Star forward sought out high-percentage looks, including transition buckets.
The end result? Toronto carried its third-quarter momentum into the final frame and kept the Celtics at bay in a 100-93 win, evening the series between the Raptors and Celtics at 2-2.
“For me, (it’s) just understanding what I need to do,” Siakam said. “My abilities, what I can do on the floor. I’m way more than just a person that can score or whatever. I have a lot of things I can do, there’s a lot of ways I can impact the game and I think sometimes you can get caught up in makes and misses. It’s the league; it’s basketball. Sometimes you’re going to make shots, sometimes you’re not going to make shots.
“I just need to understand that I have to keep doing the other things and that’s something that I’m focusing on and I’m not worried about makes and misses, I’m worried about impacting the game in all different ways.”
Pascal Siakam’s Turnaround
Siakam led the Raptors with a team-high 23 points, 11 rebounds. Kyle Lowry notched a double-double of his own (22 points, 11 rebounds) to go with a new playoff career-high four 3-pointers and his seven assists while Fred VanVleet connected on five threes on his way to scoring 17.
Toronto’s offensive rebounding crushed the Celtics in Game 4. The Raptors converted early and often throughout the night; they turned eight offensive rebounds into 24 second-chance points.
Siakam made a name for himself last season as a vital piece to the Raptors’ 2019 championship run. He earned his first All-Star nod during the regular season when Toronto spent most of the 2019-2020 campaign just below of the Milwaukee Bucks atop of the Eastern Conference.
From there, the Raptors flipped a switch and emerged as the hottest team in the NBA.
Toronto Raptors’ Championship Pedigree
The Raptors ended the regular season capturing 28 wins in 33 tries, including a 7-1 record throughout their eight seeding-games in the NBA’s ‘bubble.’ Raptors head coach and the NBA’s Coach of the Year Nick Nurse was asked about his team’s championship pedigree and if that had a lot to do with the Raptors prevailing in Game 3 or how they managed to control the pace in Game 4.
“It’s the first time all series that’s happened,” Nurse replied. “Even Game 3, which we were fortunate to win, we were chasing that thing. Man, we were down 10 at the half, literally against the ropes, you know? We had to really come out fighting in that one to get back in there but tonight, again, I think we came out very poised on offense.
“We just kept getting really good shots and that kind of carried over to the other end of the floor.”