Pascal Siakam welcomes Spicy P to the 2019 NBA Finals

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Photo by Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images

Hello NBA Finals. Meet Spicy P. Pascal Siakam made a noisy entrance into the 2019 NBA Finals finishing with 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting from the field, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 118-109 Game 1 victory over the Golden State Warriors. He appeared all over the place adding eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal to that box score. There were many questions surrounding the Raptors before Game 1, and Spicy P answered all of them.

While Siakam won’t be expected to shoot with that efficiency for the entire series, he must continue to work to get those same looks. The Warriors will likely look to put more pressure on him in the halfcourt to make quick decisions. However, those effort points in transition must be consistent.

In what might be the most surprising and efficient part of his Game 1 performance was his ability and confidence to take Draymond Green in isolation on multiple occasions. Who saw that coming?

After what many considered a runaway Most Improved Player campaign this season, Spicy P doesn’t seem to be done. His aggression is just what the Raptors need to keep the usually stout Warriors defense honest. With much of their attention attributed to locking down Kawhi Leonard, Siakam had the needed space and green light to attack the rim.

Good players have great games. Great players have great games even after adjustments are made. With the feel-out game of the series in the books, it’ll be interesting to see how Siakam responds. The good news is he’s bounced back after a somewhat subpar Bucks series. The bad news? This Warriors team has championship DNA. They won’t back down or make it any easier for him.

This is the first time in these playoffs that Draymond is seeing someone that can take him both in the post and from the perimeter. JaMychal Green/Montrezl Harrell in the first round — PJ Tucker/Clint Capela in the second — and the combination of Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard in the conference finals didn’t exactly have the versatility shown by Siakam. His offensive versatility and defensive intensity is the perfect recipe to cause havoc against the reigning champions.

As we look ahead to Game 2, Siakam will have to show more of his assist package. The doubles will come quicker, as will the help defense. He remained poised throughout Game 1 and will need to exemplify that for the entire series. Now we’ll see his true basketball IQ as he looks to pick his spots where he can attack the adjustments.

Your move, Spicy P.

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