Raptors are 3-2, pretty good outcome considering who they played and the injuries they've already endured. I yammered this week. So you're getting Three Things and a few tidbits.
1. Clutch Boys
I know I know, it's early yada yada yada. Small sample size, yada yada yada. Just let me rejoice. Let us all rejoice.
Games have been tight for the Raptors. The first four included "clutch minutes" - a lead of five points or less with five minutes or less left in the game.
Clutch as a data point requires high-volumes of input, for sure. There's so much variance and arbitrariness with 5 minutes versus 5:05 minutes, or being down 7 and hitting a huge shot versus being down 5 and the same shot. Without a long view, we're not necessarily able to pinpoint who is or is not clutch.
Case in point, OG is 3/3 from the field with one three-pointer in his clutch minutes this year. That fails to include a trey he bombed in the Miami game at the 5:10 mark - ten seconds before "clutch" is considered clutch - when the game was tied.
Still, our [us fans] long view spans seasons upon seasons. Pascal Siakam, in that time, was unfairly purported as unclutch. Thus, in the few clutch minutes he's played this season, Pascal deserves his due.
As of Thursday, of players who have played at least 2 clutch games and 4 clutch minutes, Pascal was 5th in total clutch points on 57% shooting and 4th in assists with only 1 turnover.
Scoring in the clutch is difficult. The psychology of execution more precarious and the defences, like activated white blood cells, more inhospitable to the scoring virus. Throughout games, Pascal's becoming unstoppable (PJ Tucker learned that most recently). Maintaining that, when all attention and expectation is upon him at the vital moments of a game, validates so much of what we're seeing.
There's a sense of confidence Pascal wields now. One, that I, as an observer, also feel as time ticks down and the ball finds Pascal's hands. I still have the nerves. Like a mother bird nudging her hatchling into the sky. I want him to succeed so badly, but should he fail when it counts, the haters will attempt a return to their pulpits of irrational blasphemy.