Pascal Siakam Turning Into Playoff Force Pacers Hoped For When They Made Trade

Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle told forward Pascal Siakam — a normally quieter man who doesn’t command attention — that he would have to lead his younger teammates in the playoffs, as written in an excellent piece from Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.Pascal Siakam, NBA, Indiana Pacers

For Siakam, it appears it was a challenge, but one that he’s accepted. Siakam was acquired from the Toronto Raptors in a midseason trade.

“It’s different because I’m usually not a talkative person,” Siakam said, via Dopirak. “And it’s something that, maybe in the past, in different situations it was always, ‘We hope you talk a little bit more.’ But I thought I was challenged a little bit with this group to just continue to talk, and it feels better when you feel like your voice is received well, and the guys, once you talk, they’re looking and they’re hearing you and it feels like they want to get any information you have. Especially for a person like me. That’s not really what I do.”

Siakam erupted for 37 points on 16-of-23 shooting, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Pacers’ 125-108 road win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 on Tuesday. This after 36 points in Game 1. The series is headed to Indiana tied at 1-all.

“He’s leading by example,” center Myles Turner said, via Dopirak. “The stuff he’s talking about, he’s going out and doing. Just grabbing boards, being so offensively effective, getting guys involved, speaking up. That’s the type of stuff that we needed. It’s been a hell of an addition for us.”

Pacers Notes

  • The win over the Bucks marked the Pacers’ first playoff victory since 2018. It snapped a 10-game postseason losing streak, too. 
  • And check out this stat from Dopirak (Sports Perform): “Siakam became the first player to begin the playoffs with back-to-back 35-point, 10-rebound efforts since Wilt Chamberlain in 1967, and he did it while shooting a combined 64.5%.”
  • Indiana looked much more like the team that led the NBA at 123.3 points per game during the regular season and beat the Bucks four of five times. “We were more consistent, played with more force, played with more attitude,” Carlisle said. “There were some tough stretches in the game. I liked the way we kept our poise and our aggression. We kept attacking.”

Related | Reggie Miller was excited for 1998 East Finals: ‘This is it, I’m gonna retire Michael Jordan’

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