Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam scored 52 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out seven assists in the team’s 113-106 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
How Many Players Scored 50 Points Against The Knicks At Madison Square Garden?
Sure, we’ve seen great performances by the opposition at MSG against the Knicks over the past 25 years, but Siakam became just the fifth Raptors player in franchise history to score 50 points in a game, and the only the fourth active player to score 50-plus in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, joining LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden. Pretty good lists to be a part of.
PASCAL SIAKAM TONIGHT:
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 22, 2022
Siakam played 41 minutes, and the Raptors needed every single point and rebound to get a win they desperately needed.
Coming into the game the Raptors were on a six-game losing streak, and the Knicks had been the hottest team in the league, winners of eight straight.
A career-high 52 PTS tonight for Spicy P 🌶️
— NBA (@NBA) December 22, 2022
How Many Toronto Raptors Players Have Scored 50 points In A Game?
The 52 points are a career-high for Siakam and his first 50-piece. He joins Vince Carter, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and teammate Fred VanVleet to score at least 50 in a game.
Siakam was drafted 27th in 2016 by the Raptors. He didn’t start playing basketball until he was a teenager and in many respects he’s still developing as a player at the age of 28.
So far he’s been an NBA champion, Most Improved Player, a two-time All-NBA selection, and an All-Star, and he’s getting better.
“It’s cool,” Siakam said of posting his first 50-point game at Madison Square Garden. “I’m not a super basketball historian. I didn’t start basketball until a little late, but I know how special this building is, and I think that for me the most important thing is that my team needed every bucket for us to win, which is the most important thing to me.
“We just wanted to get a win. For us, it just felt good to get a win, and the most important thing is to build on it.”
Is Pascal Siakam An NBA All-Star?
Siakam is playing the best basketball of his seven-year career and looks like he’ll earn his second All-Star nod and third All-NBA honor. His +5 offensive EPM places him in the 97th percentile in the league. That’s very good and puts him on par with Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid and Devin Booker in terms of offensive impact on the floor.
The Raptors got the win they needed, but are 14-18 and four games below .500. They’re in 10th place just a half a game ahead of the Chicago Bulls.
The optimistic view is that the teams behind them in the standings don’t look like they will be competing for a play-in spot.
The pessimistic view is we are more than a third of the way through the NBA season and the halfway mark will be here in early January. The Raptors are four games back of sixth place, which is a guaranteed playoff spot.
If the team is still floundering early in 2023, does team president Masai Ujiri pull the plug and start trading away pieces and rebuild?
Either way, Siakam looks like the player to build around, so its unlikely he’s moved. But Ujiri will have to consider all options to change the direction of this team.