Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam put the blame on his shoulders after his team fell short against the Boston Celtics in a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals series. Siakam scored only 13 points -- that wasn't enough from the team's biggest star -- and the Celtics win 92-87 to set up a series with the Miami Heat.
Siakam was averaging 23.6 points before the NBA season was suspended -- once it restarted, his game dropped and he was averaged 16.9 points in Orlando. Siakam particularly struggled against the Celtics as his point average dropped to 14.9 as he shot 38.2 percent from the field against the Celtics.
"Obviously, I have to be better," Siakam said, per ESPN. "It was definitely a learning moment for me just learning from this experience and just learning that you've gotta be ready and I wasn't able to help my teammates.
I take a lot of the blame, man."
Raptors players show love and support for Siakam
Fred VanVleet, who scored a team-high 20 points in Game 7 against the Celtics, came to the defense of his teammate Siakam after the ga me.
"I'm proud of him and I love him," Raptors guard VanVleet said. "He's my brother. I'll go to war with him any day, and I know that he didn't play up to his standard and he didn't play the way that he'd like to, but I loved his effort and his intensity, and he never pointed fingers, he never was a bad teammate.
"He just kept trying and it didn't work out for him. It's part of the journey. Everyone has ups and downs, and unfortunately his came at this time. It happens. It happens to everyone." Kyle Lowry, who knows extremely well how it feels to be criticized in the playoffs, also came to the defense of Siakam.
Lowry was receiving lots of criticism until he and the Raptors finally won it all last year. "For a guy like me, that has gone through the type of things that he is going through in this moment, he'll be able to call me whenever and I won't tell him nothing wrong," Lowry said.
"I don't think he did anything wrong, I think this is a learning experience. I think this is only going to make him a better basketball player, a better man, a better everything. I would not be surprised to see him come back even more hungry and destroying people."