Siakam, Barnes showing signs of increasing chemistry – .

Siakam, Barnes showing signs of increasing chemistry – .

TORONTO – With about three and a half minutes to go in the second quarter of the Toronto Raptors’ 97-83 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes read to throw the ball into Pascal Siakam on Pat Connaughton, who was looking to take on Siakam.
This was aided by Siakam setting up Connaughton by moving forcefully behind the Bucks guard and closing his eyes with Barnes indicating he was open.

From there, Siakam was under the basket and just needed to do a quick fake push-up to break free for an easy layup.

About a minute after that, Siakam was trying to push Connaughton back along the right side of the key and also attracted Khris Middleton’s double team, who should have kept an eye on Barnes as Siakam was keenly aware of where he was. Barnes. the top of the arch. Just as Middleton stepped too close, he threw a hands-ready, waiting pass from Barnes who easily and comfortably splashed the triple.

While these are only two pieces, they could be an indication of something very hopeful for the Raptors in the short and long term.

It’s still a work in progress, but the attacking duo of Siakam, the current Toronto star, and Barnes, a young man who appears to be the star of the Raptors in the future, have seemed increasingly to l comfort, with Thursday’s victory over Milwaukee the most spectacular. example of opening again.

“I was really happy,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of Siakam’s performance on Thursday night after that game. “I thought he would come in the middle of the free throw line and come out quickly when the help was there. I thought he did a really good job with it. I don’t know if he found Scottie that much, but he must have had it once or twice. Yeah… or Scottie finding it.

This budding chemistry between Siakam and Barnes has grown considerably, not coincidentally, over the Raptors’ last three games, as Barnes appears to have become a more dangerous threat from the outside.

Considered a non-shooter coming out of college, Barnes lived up to the moniker in his first 18 games, logging in just 23.3% of the 1.1 three-point-per-game attempts he made. taking.

Since the Raptors started that seven-game homestand they’re currently on, however, he looked like a completely different player shooting the ball from deep, with 47.6 percent distance on seven attempts per game.

A drastic increase in both quantity and quality, the shooting tear that Barnes currently uses is the product of what has been a huge program the Raptors have put together for him since the very start of his young NBA career.

“We definitely encouraged him to do it – all the coaches, the coaching staff, I give them a lot of credit. From the second he was drafted we worked on the shooting piece for him, ”Nurse said after the Raptors practice on Saturday. “And then it always comes down to the players. They always have [have to] Come in in the morning, come in at night, they come in and do double or double what we ask them to do, then it’s their switch that finally turns on, so go ahead and do it. So give him the credit for it.

“And, you know, you can go back and see pretty similar [growths] for some of these other guys. It was always a start that was a bit wobbly at the three-point line and then 20 or so games changed a bit. From Fred [VanVleet], to Pascal [Siakam] and you can continue like Norm [Powell] and other guys too.

True to Nurse’s assessment, it was in Barnes’ 19th game as a pro that he seemed both aggressiveness and the confidence to throw the deep hole into play for him and it was starting to grow. making life easier for his other teammates, with Siakam looking like one of the main benefactors.

“I haven’t played in a while and even in the preseason or whatever we haven’t been able to play together,” Siakam said when asked if he was looking more for Barnes in the passing game. . “So it comes over time and just figuring out where he is on the pitch. He’s shooting more than three now, so I feel like now when I have the ball I can still draw the defense and most of the time it’s going to be open. He takes these shots and does them with confidence and that’s good.

“Obviously we know he can pass too, so if I can move and cut I’m sure he can find me. So it works. “

For Siakam, a key aspect of his game is looking for lags, including displaying smaller defenders. This will inevitably lead to doubles to come and so if he has another option in Barnes that he can retreat into it will unlock his game even more.

It also helps that defensively, Barnes can now take on some of the tasks Siakam would have had in the past thanks to his Swiss Army knife-like skills in defense.

“I obviously think of his versatility,” Siakam said of what he loves most about Barnes’ game. “In defense, you just need to be focused and really protect anyone. It gives us a boost on our team, just having someone who can keep anyone. I feel like most of the time I’ve always been one of those guys. I think having more of that sometimes makes me feel like I’m alone there, so it feels good to have someone who can literally do like anything.

It’s still a small sample size, but seeing some chemistry seep between the current and future Raptors star must be a promising sign for the team moving forward as they try to get back to the .500 basketball and, further afield, seek to compete as a legitimate title contender.

Fast dribbling

• OG Anunoby and Khem Birch will remain out of the roster for the Raptors Sunday deal with the Washington Wizards.

Neither player trained on Saturday.

• Although his chemistry has strengthened with Barnes in the last three games, Siakam has also had a lot of fouling issues, committing 16 fouls in the last three games.

According to him, the way the game is refereed now – with the rules more like they were last season when it comes to physique – he just needs to make an adjustment to not be so aggressive.

“For me, I was just watching those games and I was very excited about the way they let things go,” Siakam said. ” You see what I mean? It was exciting and I was too excited about it. I think that period is over now. I have the impression that it is not that any more. So, I just have to be aware of this.

“I just walk away from little slaps, little slaps or whatever.” If I have to make a foul, I would rather it was a real foul preventing someone from scoring or a foul that I really want to make. Just stay away from the cheaper ones and hope the gods will be on my side one of these days and I won’t make a mistake.

• Sunday December 5 is the anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela and it will be the ninth time the Raptors have played on this date since the death of the former South African president in 2013.

The match is part of a weekend of celebration for the president and vice-president of the Raptors, the Giants of Africa Foundation of Masai Ujiri, which will include a fundraising gala lunch before the match on Sunday and justice initiatives. social taken Monday.

“It means everything, just having someone like Masai running this and what he’s done for the mainland and everything is just amazing to see, it’s beyond basketball,” said Siakam, originally from Cameroon, from Giants of Africa. “He’s someone I’ve always thought you can definitely learn from his impact. Everything he’s done is awesome man and I just wanna learn from him we still have conversations and just go out there and find ways to help and help the continent get to where it’s at is and see the number of players from Africa. It’s amazing just to see the impact.


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