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What is a point guard in today's NBA?

Traditionally the point guard has been the small, crafty guy on the court. Run through NBA history and you can picture the archetype of the great ones: Steve Nash, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Isiah Thomas, and so many more. They were the six-footers out there, the pass-first pesky guys who knew how to orchestrate the offense and led their teams to greatness.

But today, everything has changed. The Toronto Raptors have done away with the traditional. Tuesday night was just the latest example of that. No Fred VanVleet, no problem. Just let the 6-foot-9 power forward Pascal Siakam play whatever you want to call the 'point guard' position these days. It's how the Raptors overcame the loss of VanVleet against the Charlotte Hornets, playing big ball, if you will, to a 125-113 victory at Scotiabank Arena.

Siakam has fully stepped into the backup, emergency point guard spot for the Raptors this season. He's reading defenses better than ever before and playmaking like a true do-it-all point forward. It was the next big step in his development and one Toronto has been trying to get out of him since last season.

"I don’t think I’m a traditional point guard by any means, but it’s about having that attention and making reads," Siakam said. "I think the more I do it like the better I get, like anything that I do."

He picked apart the Hornets' defense with ease, hitting throwing lobs over top of the defense to hit OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa in the paint for easy layups, or drawing attention in the paint and finding kick-out passes for open three-point shooters. His 24 points were certainly impressive, but his 12 assists leading to 30 points for Toronto was the real gamechanger for the Raptors. He checked out of the game one rebound shy of his second career triple-double.

"I think he really seems to have a good tempo to where he’s going. He’s really composed, I think the spin moves, etc., are very under control," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "What I like, is just the composure. I think he’s taking it deep to spots and he’s got a size advantage; if he’s getting a shot off it’s usually a pretty good shot."

Trent Jr. Breaks Out of Funk

Gary Trent Jr. has had a rough go of things since returning from COVID-19, shooting just 34.8% from the floor and 32.8% from behind the arc over his last eight games. It was just a rhythm thing, as he tried to work his way back.

Well, he certainly broke out Tuesday night, nailing his classic step-back jumpers and catch-and-shoot threes to the tune of 32 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

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"It just gives us such confident lift all over the place when he can just go down there and generate that kind of offense so confidently and so repetitively like that," Nurse said.

Flynn Sees Action

There's no nice way to put it. Malachi Flynn has done nothing to warrant playing time this season. He fell out of favor in training camp and neither his limited NBA action nor his G League time has warranted another look.

That being said, Tuesday did provide a chance for the sophomore to show something. Prior to the game, Nurse said he wanted to see Flynn be disruptive on defense, "get dirty" for loose balls, charges, and the like, and take and make rhythm shots.

Flynn wasn't amazing by any means, but he didn't disappoint in his minutes. After an offensive foul on what would have been his first shot attempt, he nailed a layup and a three-pointer. He did get blown by on defense leading to a foul and passed up an open three-pointer that led to a late shot clock ill-fated jumper from Siakam, but he ran the fastbreak in transition and hooked up with Anunoby for a 2-on-1 layup. He followed that up with some solid second-half minutes, founding Chris Boucher for three and beating his defender for a layup at the rim in the fourth quarter.

"It’s difficult (to stay ready) but that’s our job," Flynn said. "That’s what we get paid to do so you gotta just do it to the best of your ability."

He finished the night with 11 points, three assists, and two rebounds in 26 minutes.

Champagnie Ejected

Justin Champagnie and P.J. Washington got into a shoving match late in the first quarter that led to a double ejection. It was a costly shove for Champagnie who will be fined at least $1,000 for the ejection.

"I only see it through my glasses and I thought he was getting the worst of it down there," Nurse said of the incident. "I didn't see him do anything. So he must have got in there first."

Injury Update

Scottie Barnes and VanVleet will both travel with the team despite Tuesday's game. Khem Birch is still "a ways away" from a return, Nurse said.

Up Next: Chicago Bulls

The Raptors will be right back at it Wednesday when they see DeMar DeRozan and the depleted Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET.