Raptors have issues, but defence tops the list

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“Listen, it’s just something we’re trying to work out here a little bit and work it out early in the season and not let it prolong and, again, more just an expectation of how we want to play, not individually how anybody wants to play,” Nurse said in response to a question about Siakam.

“But there’s certain standards we want to set and he just needs to get on board with those. And he can do it …”

After the game Nurse said it was clear to him that Siakam struggled but the Raptors head coach did not come across as overly concerned about his scoring power forward.

“… Half count off rhythm there at both ends a little bit which is getting him in foul trouble and not letting him be able to finish some plays at the offensive end as well,” Nurse said.

Siakam is a worker. We know that. He’s a guy, who when things get tough and he struggles, he goes to work and fixes the issue. That has been his approach since he came into the league.

His experience in the bubble was different of course. He came in without having been able to work and never did find his game in Orlando.

He has already talked about the strong off-season he had since then and how much better he feels. Siakam does not feel like one of these problems we are going to be talking about for long.

The issue that needs to be rectified first and foremost is the Raptors’ defence.

“I think, just as a defensive guy, we’ve got a long way to go in that regard — just like slides and paying attention to the game plan and things that we’re not executing, keeping teams off the foul line,” VanVleet said. “You know, we’ve got a lot of work to do, man. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve just gotta keep being accountable and look ourselves in the mirror and just try to get better each day. I thought the Knicks game was a step in the right direction, I thought (Saturday against the Pelicans), had we won this game, it would’ve been a great step in the right direction. We played pretty well in spurts but we’ll go back to the drawing board and lace ‘em up again on Monday.”