Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was pleasantly surprised members of the media were interested in how he felt during his second bout with COVID. He also discussed his first game back and how tight the Eastern Conference is.
- How many minutes did it take to [INAUDIBLE]? How many minutes did you expect to play today?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I mean, I knew I was gonna play a lot. I mean, yeah, I knew I was gonna play a lot. So I was expecting it. And it was just like, you know, whenever you tired, you kind of get out kind of thing. I mean, I felt like I was tired the whole time, so it's kind of tough to say. But yeah.
- What's the-- sorry.
- Because you've been through-- unfortunately been through COVID in a different number of different ways and times. Maybe a little bit on this past 10 days as compared to the other experience? And how did you feel coming out of it overall definitely?
PASCAL SIAKAM: You guys really care?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I don't know. I don't think you guys care. I think you guys had a day like--
- That's the same question--
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah? Oh, yeah, I didn't know you guys cared. 'Cause I feel like it most of the time, it just-- I know it's just about being out there on the floor and playing basketball games, you know, most of the time. But I mean, since you care, I appreciate that.
Yeah, no, it's been tough. But I think this time around, it was a little lighter, I'd say. Just you know, I remember that first time, it was just a lot. And just-- just feeling really sick, and, like, you know, my body, you know, losing a lot of weight, and just uncomfortable, you know?
This time around, it was just like a cold. And it felt like a cold, to be honest. My body didn't go through that much.
And you know, it was just kind of like you spend like eight, nine days without, you know, playing basketball. And then, you get out there on the floor trying to, like, work out and just get back to the floor, right as soon as you can. So I think just those things. But in terms of just, like, the symptoms and stuff, it was OK.
- I mean, you feel like you've got to be optimistic that not only you, but the other guys, will kind of bounce back and will continue back the way it did last year.
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, I think, you know, we're hoping to get more guys coming out of here. And you know, hopefully, it doesn't take us long to kind of get back to us, to our shape. But I mean, but first game, I mean, I played, like, what, 40 minutes? You know, so--
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, 42, whatever. So it's like-- yeah, there's nothing we can do, really. Like there's not time to wait. You know, like we're not-- we're in a position where we need, like, every game is important. We need to win.
So I just think that, you know, it doesn't allow us to be, you know, feeling some type of way. We've got to-- at the end of the day, we've got to go out there, and we've got to perform. And I know that, you know, that's what matters. You know, I know you told me that you cared about my health, but I know at the end of the day, it's like we've got to win.
We've got to play games. And we've got to-- you know, and that's what we want to do, man. We just want to come here, help as much as we can. And I know everyone, you know, they care about their health, but is just anxious to go back there on the floor and play, and help-- you know, play together as a team, and hopefully get some wins together. I think that's what we care about.
- What did you do in 10 days or whatever it was? How did you kill the time?
PASCAL SIAKAM: So you guys really care, huh? You really want to know?
PASCAL SIAKAM: I called cap, but--
But no, I was hanging out. I was, you know, trying to-- I think I had like a couple of days where, you know, I was feeling a little sick and stuff. You know, those days, just trying to rest as much as possible. But then, the other days, you know, just-- you know, the good guys, John, the Australian conditioning guy, you know, brought me some things, like a bike. Just, you know, do whatever I can with the weights that I had and try to stay as in shape as I could, you know, just being at home. And I think that's all I could really do.
And yeah, I did that. For every day that I wasn't feeling sick, I was there and just trying to stay as ready as I can. And as soon as I was able to get out, get out of jail, I was just go out there on the floor and work out.
- I think--
- Freddy had-- Freddy was tweeting through the game, about you, mostly.
PASCAL SIAKAM: He was doing what?
- He was tweeting about you.
PASCAL SIAKAM: Oh, he was?
- Yeah. I'm just wondering, was there a message waiting for you when you got back to the locker room? And if so, would you mind sharing, from him?
PASCAL SIAKAM: You guys are really personal today. But no, yeah. I mean, he just texted me right now. Obviously, he's anxious to go back out there, you know? And I think, you know, again, like obviously wanted to win, but I think he appreciated the effort and everyone just playing hard and doing everything that we can to get a win. Obviously, it didn't pan out the way we wanted it to, but yeah, I think his message was just, you know, like good job, and, you know, let's just keep fighting. And you know, hopefully, gets back out there pretty soon.
- We have a couple questions for you on line. You wanna go ahead, Mike?
- OK, yeah. [SPEAKING FRENCH]
PASCAL SIAKAM: [SPEAKING FRENCH]
- [SPEAKING FRENCH]
PASCAL SIAKAM: [SPEAKING FRENCH]
- OK, merci beaucoup, Pascal.
PASCAL SIAKAM: Merci.
- Two more for you, Pascal. Go ahead, Alex?
- Hi, Pascal. I'm just wondering, just in the nature of the Eastern Conference this year, with-- with every team, you know, so tight, what's it like just going to battle every night with teams that are so tight against each other in the standings?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, I think, yeah, it just brings the competition to a whole other level, obviously. And I think that, you know, for us, it's like, obviously, you look at your record, and you know, it feels bad, because we think that we're a better team than what we've shown or, like, what our record says. So I think that we've just got to, you know, take every game as, you know, a super important game, because they are.
And all the teams that we're playing, you know, in the East are, like, right there. And it's like a couple of games-- or, like, you win a couple of games, and the other team lose a couple of games, it's a whole other story. So I think that we have to stay focused, and it makes it, you know, every night just, like, really important.
- All right, Thanks.
- And last one for you. Go ahead, Oren.
- Hey, Pascal. What's it like playing with all of these guys who are on 10-day contracts? A lot of them have been in the rotation today. What's that like for you? And as a leader of the team, what's your message to those guys?
PASCAL SIAKAM: Yeah, I think, you know, today, I just told them, I was like, I mean, like, if you don't know anything today, just play hard. Like, at the end of the day, like, the way we play is not really that complicated to understand, like. So if you don't know what's going on, stay out of the way, and play hard, like.
To be honest, like, that's just-- you know, for me, that was like it was just as simple as that. And I think those guys, you know, the guys that came in on the floor, you know, they played with energy. And I think that's all we can really ask for.
And just because, you know, there's not-- we don't practice. There's not much time to put in things. And you know, I think it's just about that. Just bring your effort, and I think the rest, we're just gonna take care of it out there on the floor.