Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Raptors, Brown, Simmons

The Raptors don’t expect Pascal Siakam‘s one-game benching to become an ongoing issue, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN. Coach Nick Nurse elected to hold Siakam out of Thursday’s game after he went straight to the locker room rather than the bench after fouling out with 25.6 seconds remaining Tuesday night.

Nurse called it “a disciplinary thing for an internal matter,” and Siakam accepted the decision, a source tells Lewenberg. Because it wasn’t technically a suspension, Siakam won’t lose any money.

“I don’t think anybody’s happy to see him not play, but that was the decision that came down, so you roll with it,” Fred VanVleet said. “We’re all in this together and everybody makes mistakes. This is something that’s not gonna linger around us. P was great. He was great, he handled it very well, he was a great energy for us on the bench tonight even though he wasn’t playing, and we can’t wait to get him back out there with us.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Backup center Alex Len said there was “definitely tension in the locker room” after the Raptors lost their first three games, which indicates problems that go beyond one incident with Siakam, notes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Toronto picked up its first win Thursday night after blowing double-digit leads in each of the three losses.
  • Jaylen Brown is ready to take on a larger role with the Celtics‘ offense after Gordon Hayward‘s departure in free agency, observes Tom Westerholm of “I’m definitely trying to accept the challenge, and I’m excited about this year in general for our group,” said Brown, who had a career-high 42 points Wednesday night. “I think we still have a great group. We have a lot to learn, I have a lot to learn but I think we are all embracing that challenge. Personally, for me, to be in a new and different role with more responsibility, I love and I want to handle that great responsibility to make sure I get other guys involved, all my teammates and try to be the best leader I can possibly be.”
  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons hit his third career three-pointer Thursday night and is becoming more comfortable with the shot, according to Ky Carlin of Yahoo Sports“I’ve seen him make it in practice and I know he can knock it down,” said teammate Seth Curry. “Especially from the corner so it’s just a matter of him doing it in a game and stepping into it with confidence. It didn’t look like there was too much hesitation on the shot and I expected it to go in.”
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