42, 44, 43

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Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 28: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors reacts during warm up, prior to an NBA game against the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Arena on October 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

“O Deep Thought computer,” he said, “the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us….” he paused, “The Answer.”
“The Answer?” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to what?”
“Life!” urged Fook.
“The Universe!” said Lunkwill.
“Everything!” they said in chorus.
Deep Thought paused for a moment’s reflection.
“Tricky,” he said finally.
“But can you do it?”
Again, a significant pause.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought, “I can do it.”
“There is an answer?” said Fook with breathless excitement.
“Yes,” said Deep Thought. “Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But, I’ll have to think about it.”

Fook glanced impatiently at his watch.
“How long?” he said.
“Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought.
Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other.
“Seven and a half million years…!” they cried in chorus.
“Yes,” declaimed Deep Thought, “I said I’d have to think about it, didn’t I?”

[Seven and a half million years later…. Fook and Lunkwill are long gone, but their descendents continue what they started]

“We are the ones who will hear,” said Phouchg, “the answer to the great question of Life….!”
“The Universe…!” said Loonquawl.
“And Everything…!”
“Shhh,” said Loonquawl with a slight gesture. “I think Deep Thought is preparing to speak!”
There was a moment’s expectant pause while panels slowly came to life on the front of the console. Lights flashed on and off experimentally and settled down into a businesslike pattern. A soft low hum came from the communication channel.

“Good Morning,” said Deep Thought at last.
“Er..good morning, O Deep Thought” said Loonquawl nervously, “do you have…er, that is…”
“An Answer for you?” interrupted Deep Thought majestically. “Yes, I have.”
The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.
“There really is one?” breathed Phouchg.
“There really is one,” confirmed Deep Thought.
“To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and everything?”
“Yes.”
Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.
“And you’re ready to give it to us?” urged Loonsuawl.
“I am.”
“Now?”
“Now,” said Deep Thought.
They both licked their dry lips.
“Though I don’t think,” added Deep Thought. “that you’re going to like it.”
“Doesn’t matter!” said Phouchg. “We must know it! Now!”
“Now?” inquired Deep Thought.
“Yes! Now…”
“All right,” said the computer, and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.
“You’re really not going to like it,” observed Deep Thought.
“Tell us!”
“All right,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question…”
“Yes..!”
“Of Life, the Universe and Everything…” said Deep Thought.
“Yes…!”
“Is…” said Deep Thought, and paused.
“Yes…!”
“Is…”
“Yes…!!!…?”
“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

-Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I spent my Sunday morning on the couch with a mug of decaf coffee and a bowl of cereal, anxiously watching Friday night’s game against NOP.

It was a cool morning, grey. The game was two days old. I had already read the box score and watched MLG’s 10-minute highlight package. I knew how it ended.

Still, I needed something to write about.

With 2:32 remaining and the Raptors up 114-98, Pascal Siakam gets the ball on the left wing. His side of the floor is empty and the only Pelicans jersey between him and the basket is Jrue Holiday’s, hung out to dry in single-coverage. Before the catch, Holiday had managed to push Pascal all the way out past the three-point line, but, once the ball is in Siakam’s large hands, it’s over.

Face up, rip through, dribble once, (Jrue reaches), up soft, and-one.

It’s Pascal’s 16th field goal of the night (second last here), and it, plus the subsequent free throw, bring him to 42 points and within 2 of his career-high—which he matches 33 seconds later on what NBA.com calls a ‘Floating Jump Shot’ and I might call a floater out of a post-up spin-move from almost the free-throw line.

44 for a second time.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As is sometimes the nature of scoring in basketball, a number was skipped in going from 42 to 44.

…Seeing the number 43 on the front and my name on the back–feels surreal. So I’ve started my own little tradition. Every time I enter the game, I touch the No. 4 on my jersey four times for my dad and three brothers, then I touch the No. 3 three times for my mom and two sisters, then I cross myself for God and point up to the sky. I know my dad is watching.

-Pascal Siakam

Watching the game, I was anxious about making my deadline (11 am), but I was never anxious about the Raptors, and that goes beyond knowing that they would win this game. My faith in this team has become borderline religious.

Early on, with 1:32 elapsed in the 1st and the Pelicans up 4-2, Nicolas Melli catches the ball at almost the exact same spot on the floor that Pascal would in the 4th.

In the future, Pascal will be met by Jrue, a defensive menace. In the present, though there are four Raptors back—Kyle, Marc, Fred, and Pascal—and only two Pelicans aside from Melli, nobody has him. And the blur at the edge of the frame that is OG isn’t going to make it in time.

Now the first part of the next sequence can’t be attributed to Pascal, but the rest can.

Melli misses.

Pascal skies for the board, dribbles, eyes upcourt.

Holiday attempts a steal (possibly a foul?), which Pascal fends off.

All 5 Pelicans are back.

 

What does Pascal see?

Ingram in front and a spread floor.

Jahlil Okafor, not sinking into the paint because Marc is trailing and ‘a shooter.’

 

Pascal hits Ingram with an in-and-out dribble, his best open-court move.

Trusting in Jahlil’s poor help ability, he splits the gap between the two.

Ingram bumps him. Pascal scoops the layup softly with his left.

He steps to the line for the and-one.

With 1:41 elapsed, the score is Raptors 5 – Pelicans 4.

And Pascal is begun.

But I still missed my deadline.

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