The Toronto Raptors won’t have the opportunity to defend their NBA title as they were knocked out of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
The Raptors battled during the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but Pascal Siakam did not show up when the team needed him. Veteran guard Kyle Lowry had some words of advice for his teammate after the loss.
The Toronto Raptors dominated in the first round of the 2020 playoffs
The Raptors went into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed looking to defend their NBA title. In the first round, they took on the Brooklyn Nets. The defending champions did not have any issues against a Brooklyn team that was missing some of their top players. Toronto took advantage and took control of the series early. In Game 1, Toronto defeated Brooklyn 134-110 and set the tone of the series early.
Brooklyn had no answer for Toronto, no matter how hard they battled. The Raptors had multiple players step up and play at a high-level during the series. Six players averaged double-digits in scoring, with Fred VanVleet leading the way averaging 21.3 points per game. Pascal Siakam was second in scoring averaging 20.8 points.
Toronto was determined to show everyone that they can have success in the playoffs without Kawhi Leonard. They did what they needed to do in the first round, sweeping the Nets and having a big Game 4 as they scored 150 points. Toronto made a statement to close out the series and was ready to take on the Boston Celtics in the second round.
Toronto faced a tough challenge against the Boston Celtics
A matchup that many people were looking forward to seeing was Toronto and Boston. Here you have the defending champions going up against a team that could compete for a title and had a lot of talent. Boston struck first during the series, taking a commanding 2-0 lead. Toronto was in trouble heading into Game 3, and they did not want to fall 3-0 to Boston. Game 3 was a battle between both teams and literally came down to the final shot.
With 0.5 seconds, Toronto was down 103-101 and had a chance to tie or win the game. Toronto inbounded the ball, and OG Anunoby received the pass with the time running out and quickly put up a shot, and it went in. Just like that, the series was 2-1 instead of 3-0. Toronto had the momentum going into Game 4 and tied the series up at 2-2.
Boston won Game 5 and was one win away from going to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors were able to pull out a close one in Game 6, winning 125-122 in double overtime with a big performance from Kyle Lowry, who had 33 points. It all came down to one game to decide who would advance. Unfortunately, the Raptors’ run to defend their title ended in the second round as Boston won Game 7 92-87.
Pascal Siakam didn’t show up in the second round, but Kyle Lowry had some words of advice for him
Siakam had an impressive performance in the first round of the playoffs, but that did not happen in the second round. The forward who had a big regular season for the Raptors was looked at as one of the stars on the team. Siakam made his first All-Star team in 2020 and was taking his game to another level. But he was not a factor in the series against the Celtics. Siakam averaged 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, but Toronto needed more out of him.
After the Game 7 loss, Siakam felt as if he let his team down and took responsibility for letting his team down. Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry said that he feels the series will be a learning lesson for Siakam.
“I think this is a learning experience,” Lowry said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “I think it’s only going to make him a better basketball player, a better man, a better everything. And I would not be surprised to see him come back even hungrier and destroying people.” The greats learn from their mistakes, and they get better from then. Lowry knows that Siakam is a talented player, and he believes that he will come back a better player based on his recent performance in the playoffs. It’s all on Siakam to put the work in during the offseason and help his team get back to the finals.