'It's all fake toughness anyways': Pascal Siakam discusses Joel Embiid staring him down


Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam discusses his play in Game 4, Scottie Barnes winning Rookie of the Year and his competitive spirit.

Video Transcript

- [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE] said you might want to be a little bit more aggressive. And I think 15 is a season-high in free throw attempts. Do you feel you were making it to the basket a little bit more tonight or [INAUDIBLE]

PASCAL SIAKAM: Right. I know. I think-- yeah, I was probably more assertive, and just-- not a lot of just looking around, just taking whatever's there. Like, I talked about earlier, like all yesterday, just attacking and taking advantage of whatever I feel like it's an advantage, and, again, just making the right play or at least trying to make the right play.

- [INAUDIBLE] You guys gave Joel a lot of attention. At times, you looked to be getting very frustrated with it, that last foul on you. Do you get a sense that what you're doing against him is working?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I think we're trying to, again, make it tough for him. Obviously, we know he's a tough coverage. And it's got to be a team effort. And I think that that's kind of, like, what we have to do, to give ourselves a chance.

And yeah, like, we're going to try to do our best and do everything we can to make it tough on him-- and not just on him, on all of them, but, obviously, especially him.

- [INAUDIBLE] play [INAUDIBLE] full health. [INAUDIBLE] fourth quarter. [INAUDIBLE] but I need to be the offensive here and make more plays, or is it just the aggressive--

PASCAL SIAKAM: Right, I think it's the usual aggressiveness. But at the same time, it's, like, again, me having the ball and knowing that I have to make the plays.

And it's not just only scoring. Like, it's everything, you know? Like, just initiating the offense and making sure that everyone is in the right spots and, again, attacking or taking advantage of the matches that we have. And I think that Coach just trusts me to make the right play, and I think that it was good for us to just get some rhythm and get everyone in the right spots.

- Did you get a chance to talk to Fred before he went off for the imaging?

PASCAL SIAKAM: Say that again?

- Did you get a chance to talk to Fred before he went off for the imaging?

PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, he did the imaging today? Oh.

- [INAUDIBLE]

PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, yeah, no, I haven't talked-- well, I talked to him-- I mean, obviously, like, I want him out there, you know? So I know it was tough for him, and we hope that, like, there's nothing, and you can be with us on Monday, I think? Is it Monday? Yeah.

Yeah, but I know it's tough for him to just not be out there with us.

- [INAUDIBLE] for a guy like [INAUDIBLE] who comes off the bench to make the plays. [INAUDIBLE] in the first half, mostly the fourth quarter? Talk about his-- what he gives you guys, [INAUDIBLE] additional stuff.

PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, man, he's the ultimate pro. Like, I think just, like, seeing him every day. Like, he comes in, get his work done after recovery, all that. Like, he's just a professional.

And having someone like him, like, on our team is definitely a plus. And I just like the fact that I don't think he's been playing as much in the series. But he just obviously had that thing with his finger.

But just having that opportunity for him to come in and just be ready. It just shows everything-- like, how professional he is. And he's been in the league for a long time, and he knows what it takes. And I think that he was huge for us tonight, and just making plays and also on defense-- just understanding the coverages and the match-ups.

And he's always talking to us out there. And I think that he was great for us tonight.

- What was that moment like in practice yesterday for you guys, finding out when Scottie had won Rookie of the Year?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I think it was fun. It was cool. Obviously, like, I think he had an amazing season. And I think we've been losing a little bit, so, you know, it's not it's not a real fun atmosphere out there.

And I think it's just being proud of a teammate, happy for your teammates, and knowing the hard work that they put in to be able to have that type of recognition-- like, it gave a good mood to the team in a time where-- not that we weren't in a good mood, but, obviously, it was disappointing to lose the way that we did.

But I think it just gave everyone a little boost, and we're extremely happy for him. And obviously, it's just the beginning for him.

- How much do you relish playing that kind of free safety rule on defense, where you have to make a split second decision to stay on your man or go double at Joel Embiid? How much is it rewarding when he does throw a turnover [INAUDIBLE]?

PASCAL SIAKAM: As I said earlier, just making it tough on him. Again, we would want anybody else to beat us but him, you know? So I think that that's kind of, like, our mindset.

And then, for me, just seeing those reads, I feel like I'm able to make those reads. And whenever it's my time to do that, I'm going to be out there, making sure that I execute at a high level. And, again, hoping for him to make the next play, so--

- When you were down on the court there, he kind of walked by you, just missed your head. I know it's all part of the gamesmanship, but what's going through your head there?

PASCAL SIAKAM: I mean-- [LAUGHS] I think it's tricky, right? I mean, I love-- I mean, I'm a competitor, man. Like, I love, like, just being competitive and fighting. This is the playoffs, man, the highest level for us. And I think I'm cool with all that, the talking and all those stuff. It's fine.

I just don't want, like, little dirty plays. Like, for me, that's-- I don't like that, right? Like, I think we just got to keep it basketball. Just go out there and compete. Play hard at the highest level. No dirty plays. And just-- like, I mean, by at the end of day, it's all fake toughness, though. So it's all right.

[LAUGHTER]

- OK, so we'll do a question in French from Mike. Go ahead, Mike.

- [SPEAKING FRENCH]

PASCAL SIAKAM: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

- Thank you.

- Thank you.

PASCAL SIAKAM: Thank you.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting