Nik Stauskas Gives Sixers More of What They Want in Loss to Raptors

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TORONTO -- Despite the long season, Nik Stauskas had no problems getting up for Tuesday night's game in Toronto.

The Mississauga, Ontario native was on the floor for nearly 37 minutes in the Sixers' 122-98 loss to the Raptors, pouring in 13 points and three assists to go along with four dunks (see Instant Replay).

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The 22-year-old admitted postgame he was fired up to play at Air Canada Centre.

"Its always fun coming back here and playing in front of friends and family just cause they don't get to see me too often anywhere else," he said. "I probably have a lot of people waiting out there for me."

Midway through the second quarter, Stauskas dunked on Bismack Biyombo to pull the Sixers to within three, 41-38. The move drew a reaction from the crowd.

Then with less than two minutes remaining, Stauskas had a put-back jam to tie the game at 55-55.

The Sixers pulled ahead with a 13-0 run to conclude the second quarter and led 61-55 at recess. However, the Raptors outscored the Sixers 32-13 in the third and never looked back.

"I think it was a combination of their defense and our lack of execution," Stauskas said. "It's kind of been the story of our season where we play well for a few quarters, we're up, things are going well and then teams start to turn it up a notch on us and they'll go on a little bit of a run and put the game away.

"That's kind of what you saw in the third and fourth quarters today with them."

While in Canada, Stauskas appears to have picked up some offseason work.

He played the role of reporter for the Canadian sports network, TSN, during NBA All-Star weekend in February and will return to the television network as an analyst during the NBA playoffs.

"I don't necessarily think it was always something I wanted to do, but it kind of came to me as an opportunity during All-Star weekend where I worked for TSN," Stauskas said. "They said I did a good job and so they invited me back for the playoffs this year. I'm excited to continue working for them. It's fun."

Stauskas admitted he was "really clueless" with what he wanted to study while at the University of Michigan, but that the TSN opportunity has opened some doors.

"This has given me some time to think about things and maybe if I work in the playoffs, and really enjoy it, then maybe [broadcasting] is something I want to pursue after basketball," he said.

Stauskas agreed he wouldn't be over critical when discussing his peers during his summer job.

"I can't really talk smack about any player otherwise they're going to come back at me," he said. "I think I'm just going to watch as a fan almost and try to analyze as best I can, hopefully I do a good job."

The other thing Stauskas will focus on during the offseason is his workout program. According to coach Brett Brown, a solid summer in the gym could do wonders for Stauskas' development.

"I think his future is going to be based on his body, I think that when he starts really, really getting in shape and cut up and streamlined, there's a cocky side that I want to see from him, there's a physical side that I want to see from him," Brown said. "We see his skill package, but we need to grow him to be a two-way player. This league is about two-way players."

Brown believes, if Stauskas can take care of his body properly in the gym, it will play a large role in his growth and development.

"I think we go overboard in sports science, we go overboard with all the pieces everybody is in sort of a sports science, analytics arms race – all the NBA teams – we're no different," Brown said. "With Nik, we want to go completely overboard. How many jobs are there in life where you have five months off?

"That's a long time off. What you do in the summertime influences dramatically what you do the following year. This is the time we make money, and so with him that will be the focus."

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