Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam says he doesn’t talk much with Kawhi Leonard these days, but he knows their bond lasts a lifetime.

Back in 2019, the two formed the best 1-2 punch in Raptors history en route to their first franchise championship.

Leonard averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 24 games in the 2019 playoffs, while Sicam averaged 19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the same time period.

Sure, there were other major contributors to this lineup: Kyle Lowry, Fred Vanfleet, and Serge Ibaka, to name a few, but the pair made up the second-best scorer in NBA history.

Of course, Leonard left in the summer of 2019 to sign a long-term deal in his home state of California with the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s farther than the Raptors have since leaving — in the 2021 Western Conference Finals — though neither Los Angeles nor Toronto have been able to get back into the big dance since.

And after a double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 139-109 win over the Hawks yesterday, Siakam was left to remember his old friend and former teammate.

“Nothing really bothered him. He was focused on his goal, and his goal was to win. It doesn’t really matter if he shot badly or whatever, if he had a good match. It’s the same mentality, but also for me, like just going through things personally.” , I get it. Again, things come and go, I’m not attached to it,” Siakam said. “I am connected to the process, I am committed to coming in, and every day I work hard, trying to be my best, and no matter what the results are, just having the same mindset and going for it every day.”

Siakam has averaged 26.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 7 games this season, all career highs.

“When you go through a lot of ups and downs, you understand,” Siakam added. “If I go out there and score 0 points, it’s me. If I go out there and score 50 points, it’s still me.”

It’s not just Sekam who is still thinking about the magical 2018-2019 season: the coaching staff clearly does, too.

Last year, Raptors coach Nick Norse felt the comparison between Siakam and Leonard’s work ethic was appropriate.

some nights, [Siakam would] I had 43 minutes a night, 30 points, 10 rebounds, and I’ll be in here at 8:15 a.m. [the next day]”He’ll be outside at 8 in the morning, and it’s going to make me tired of seeing him there,” the nurse said during the end of last season’s media availability while discussing Siakam’s season. “It shows he understands – you guys know I was saying this about Kouhi – he understands what it looks like today to be a great player.”

Siakam, who was refreshed one night earning MVP cheers from the Scotiabank Arena fans, said his relationship has evolved over the past three seasons with his former teammate. But for a nut like Leonard that’s hard to break, perhaps that’s not surprising.

“We don’t really talk much [as we used to]Siakam said in response to a question asked by the Daily Hive. “But I have his phone number. When we see each other, it is always love. I always feel that if I reach out to him, he will always be there.”

Leonard and the Clippers are coming to visit Siakam in Toronto on December 27th. In Siakam’s words, love will always be between the two.

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