June 19, 2024

Former Toronto Raptors teammates OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam are set to square off in the second round of the NBA playoffs on Monday night, marking a first-time matchup for Anunoby.

Anunoby and Siakam have a history of playing together, having shared the court as members of the Toronto Raptors. Even during practice sessions, they were typically on the same team, leaving few opportunities for direct competition. However, that dynamic will change as Anunoby’s New York Knicks prepare to face Siakam’s Indiana Pacers on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Reflecting on the upcoming matchup, Anunoby expressed a mixture of anticipation and curiosity. “It’ll be weird, but it’ll be cool,” he told reporters in New York. He acknowledged having learned a few defensive tricks from observing Siakam’s play over the years but recognized the challenge he’ll face as the expected primary defender on Siakam.

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“He plays both ends of the floor. He can score, rebound, pass – he can do everything. So he’s a significant asset for them,” Anunoby commented on Siakam, whom the Pacers acquired back in January.

Although Siakam and the Pacers faced the Knicks twice after the trade from Toronto, Anunoby was sidelined for both games, making this upcoming matchup the first official encounter between the two.

“I know some things, but he’s a great player. I think everyone recognizes that,” Anunoby acknowledged.

However, the second round presents a tougher challenge for Siakam, who dominated Bobby Portis and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Anunoby remains one of the top wing defenders in the NBA and recently showcased his defensive prowess against Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey in the first round.

Expect Anunoby to spend considerable time guarding Siakam in this series. While Siakam primarily defended former Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa when Indiana faced the Knicks earlier this year, Anunoby’s return has relegated Achiuwa to a lesser role off the bench lately.

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