Does winning breed happiness or does happiness breed winning?
It’s the age-old question in sports and right now the Toronto Raptors are definitely lacking one and potentially the other.
After starting the season 0-3, squandering double-digit leads in all three games, there’s some uneasiness within the Raptors locker room.
“There’s definitely tension in the locker room,” Raptors centre Alex Len said. “Nobody likes losing. Right now, we’re trying to figure it out, get in the right direction, trying to swing the momentum. We coulda been easily 3-0, just down the stretch we kinda gave a couple games away. So we’ve gotta figure it out, how to finish games.”
Len is right. The Raptors could easily be 3-0 if not for some late-game collapses. They’ve been able to build up sizeable leads in every game this year only to see them whipped away due to extended scoring droughts.
“We play hard for 30 minutes and then we had a little bit of lapses, we don’t play Toronto basketball, Raptors basketball,” Len said. “So we’ve just gotta lock in and play for longer, extended minutes, play our game.”
Part of this issue has certainly been Pascal Siakam’s inability to close out games this season. He’s just 1-for-9 in the fourth quarter this year and he’s looked tentative going to the rim. Against the New York Knicks tonight, things should be a little bit easier. New York has allowed the second-most buckets within five feet of the rim this season, meaning there should be plenty of opportunities for Siakam to find his groove inside.
Toronto should be able to right the ship tonight, but if they can’t against a lackluster Knicks team, then the alarm bells will get much, much louder.