Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Heartwarming return for Pascal Siakam on Valentine’s Day

Beautiful tributes for Pascal, and a better effort from the Raptors

Overall, the Raptors go into the All-Star break feeling a little bit better about themselves. They’re 19-36 but this latest loss to Indiana was significantly more competitive than Monday’s embarrassment against San Antonio.

Toronto 43ver

Kawhi Leonard received the best tribute video of any returning Raptor but you can make the argument that Pascal Siakam got the best overall welcome back. He never wanted to leave Toronto.

Let’s start with the Raptors homage to Pascal during Indiana’s player introductions. Siakam’s favourite part seemed to be the old ‘Yak and Skills’ throwback of Siakam and Poeltl singing Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles.’

Here’s what made Siakam’s tribute unique. Pascal recalled in his Players Tribune piece looking for fans wearing his jersey during the national anthem and when finally seeing one in his younger days letting out a “yessss!”

Siakam also realized the sad part; that over time his Raptors 43 jerseys would fade away.

Courtesy @ Players Tribune

Not so fast. Amazing gesture last night to ensure Pascal would see more 43’s in the crowd than he probably ever has.

Courtesy @Raptors

Pascal, Scottie, winning time

This was a fun back and forth down the stretch.

Siakam made the seasoned veteran plays, like making RJ Barrett pay for doubling off Tyrese Haliburton and knocking down a tough shot over Immanuel Quickley. He also drove on RJ to put Indiana up three with 25 seconds left. Pascal led the Pacers with 23 points.

Barnes stepped up with a key pullup jumper (but unfortunately his foot was on the line), and a spectacular block. Scottie especially needed a bounce back performance after his 3-15 night vs Spurs followed by leaving the court was discussed at nauseam over the past two days. Barnes had 29 points, 12 boards and eight assists. Many of Scottie’s baskets last night came from the downhill variety against suspect Pacers defence, which is expected at this point.

Three point shooting was the Raptors achilles heel. Gary Trent Jr. had a couple open looks that would have changed the game but couldn’t bury them. After his long two, Barnes missed a tying three from nearly the same spot. Gradey Dick has been on fire over the last month but he couldn’t make a momentum shifting three either. The Raptors went 6-26 for the game, compared to Indiana’s 17-41 clip.

Still, the Raptors had the ball with 10 seconds left down two and decided to go to RJ, who also played well (23 pts, 9 reb). Ben Sheppard played solid defence, forcing Barrett into a makeable fadeaway that missed at the buzzer.

Siakam was asked on Indiana’s broadcast about the sea of 43 jerseys he saw.

Scottie talked about playing against Pascal for the first time, and watching his tribute video.


  • Kelly Olynyk left in the first half with a back strain after seven minutes.
  • Ochai Agbaji made his first three (only shot attempt of the night) after going 0-8 from deep in his first two games as a Raptor.
  • After being a DNP-CD in six of the previous seven games, Chris Boucher made an impact with 10 points in 11 minutes. His hustle on the offensive glass led to a couple of second chance buckets.
  • Dick is going to challenge for the starting SG nod at some point after the All-Star break. He was already doing a lot of little things well before finding his stroke. Beautiful pass from Gradey to Bruce Brown here, and he’s been finishing at the rim lately.

Up Next: Brooklyn is a week away on Feb 22.