Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Fournier, Durant, Harden

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam erupted for 32 points and eight rebounds against Sacramento on Friday, his sixth game after recovering from shoulder surgery. Josh Lewenberg of tweets that Siakam, who bounced back from a four-point game against Utah, is still trying to gain a rhythm.

“Last game I felt like I was running in mud the whole game,” Siakam said. “It’s just waking up every day continuing to push forward knowing it’s going to be tough, but once I get that rhythm and my legs under me I know what I can do, and I have to focus on that.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Evan Fournier, the Knicks’ major sign-and-trade acquisition this summer, hasn’t been playing in fourth quarters lately and it’s been an adjustment for the swingman, Mark Sanchez of the New York Post writes. “I think the situation right now is I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play, so I have to have the mindset of: If I’m going to play 20 minutes, then just come out the gate with extreme energy,” he said. “Being very alert. Being ultra-aggressive. And trying to have an impact.”
  • Kevin Durant missed his first game of the season on Friday due to a shoulder ailment. The Nets are trying to figure out how much to play Durant and James Harden during the regular season without wearing them out prior to the postseason, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “I think that we definitely are going to look for our spots to protect them,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said. “We just have to be very strategic. We’re a new team trying to find itself and trying to form that identity. Those guys are super-competitive, so they want to play. It’s a tricky balance.”
  • The league’s crackdown on offensive moves in which players move into defender’s bodies to draw fouls has affected Harden. He’s going to the line less and committing more turnovers, Sanchez notes. The Nets star says he’s still getting used to the new parameters. “We’re in a little bit of a funk right now in a sense of just everything,” Harden said.
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