Raptors youngsters step up against Cavaliers

Yahoo Canada Sports
Raptors’ Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam are best friends.
Raptors’ Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam are best friends.

Move over DeMar and Kyle, there’s a new duo in town.

Raptors sophomores Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl got the fans on their feet Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre.

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Fellow soph Fred VanVleet will get all the headlines and deservingly so after torching the Cavs for a career-high 22 points and going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. But Siakam and Poeltl played a key role in Toronto’s 133-99 win — the most points the Raptors have ever scored in a regulation game.

Neither player made the starting lineup against the Cavs, despite Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka not dressing. But the young duo, who are both under 24 years old, are proving why they deserve more minutes.

At the half, they’d each already had a half-dozen highlight reel plays and combined for 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Poeltl finished the game with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes, while Siakam ended the game with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists in just 23 minutes.

When the two were on the court together, they matched up against LeBron James and Tristan Thompson, a huge responsibility for a couple of second-year pros. But they did just fine, as Siakam held his own against James, who finished with 26 points, while Poeltl out-rebounded the Cavaliers big man 12-8.

Siakam also got James to commit his only personal foul of the game as the Raptors backed him down into the post with six seconds left in the third quarter, causing the ACC to erupt in cheers.

On the season, Siakam is averaging 6.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.7 APG in under 20 minutes while Poeltl is averaging 6.8 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 17 minutes — a steady progression from their rookie seasons.

But no stat will tell the story of these two budding besties like this single tweet:

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