The Raptors laid out their blueprint for survival after Siakam’s injury

How do you win when you lose a top-10 player?

Most people, and for good reason, have been hung up on Pascal Siakam's injured right groin. He was carrying their halfcourt offense, playing an invaluable role on defense, and doing such a good job at both that many people started talking about him in the oh-so-alluring "top-10" context. Siakam is awesome, and any amount of time that he's gone from the team is a tough pill to swallow.

"You just gotta go, and nobody's feeling sorry for you. When you're losing players you just gotta keep playing."

Nick Nurse after the loss

Now, there's a full team that remains with interesting players, star-bound rookies, excellent role players and they no doubt intend to win despite Siakam's expected upcoming absence. In the back half of the game against the Mavericks, the Raptors found a style that suits them and nearly led to a comeback win.

"I think we just tightened some stuff up defensively, we got a couple calls." Scottie Barnes said of the Raptors run of form towards the end of the game. "We got some offensive rebounds, where we were able to get energy. Just trying to push through that comeback."

We've seen the Raptors do something to this effect before, of course. Last season they were a juggernaut on the offensive glass, and that aspect of their playstyle hasn't really carried over this season. For small pockets of play, yes, but overall they haven't pressed that inherent advantage. Down the stretch against the Mavericks, in lieu of Siakam's finesse, they played smash mouth basketball. And that's probably the key to winning games without Siakam in the lineup.

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