After years of being ridiculed and criticize for underperforming in the playoffs, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, has finally established himself as playoff star in the NBA.
Down 3-2 in the second round series of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, Toronto was in a must win situation to keep their back-to-back title aspirations alive.
With Raptors’ main guy, Pascal Siakam having an off night only putting up 12 points in 5-19 shooting from the field in 54 minutes of playing time. Everyone else on Toronto’s side had to step up at the helm of their huge win Game 6, double overtime win was the 13-year veteran.
Lowry put up 33 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals and was on the court for 53 minutes. He played the second overtime with five personal fouls but was able to come up with multiple defensive plays including his steal on Jalen Brown after scoring a bucket mid-way through the second overtime, which led to Norman Powell being give two-free throws to tie the game at 110 with 2:33 left.
With 16 seconds left in the game and Toronto leading, 121-119, Lowry posted up Kemba Walker and drained a dagger fadeaway shot to give them a 123-119 lead with 11.7 second on clock.
The Raptors forced the series to Game 7, 125-122.
After years of being in do-or-die situations, Lowry admits that the upcoming Game 7 will be different from what he has experienced in the past.
“This is a different atmosphere, a different moment but it’s still Game 7. It’s going to be different. Every game is different. Every situation is different but it’s Game 7, they’re gonna come out ready to go and we’ll come out ready to go,” Lowry said during the post-game interview.
In the past, Toronto has been a laughing stock in the playoffs as despite having a strong performance in the regular season, once the lights are on and the post-season has arrived. The Raptors turns into little lizards as their stars would shy away and fail to play at a high level, resulting in disappointing exists.
In 2014, despite being the third seed, the Raptors lost in seven games in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets. Lowry averaged 21.1 points while shooting 40% percent in the field with four rebounds and four assists per game.
In 2015, they got swept by the fifth seeded Washington Wizards in the first round. The Villanova University product only averaged 12 points in 31.6% shooting at the field. This was his first All-Star year.
From 2016-2018, the Raptors with Lowry as one of their main guys lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2017 and 2018, they got swept by the LeBron James and the Cavs in the second round of the playoffs. In those three years, Lowry only averaged 17.4 points, in 45.5% shooting at the field with 6.8 assists and four rebounds.
Lowry had a semi redemption year last season when they won the title as he averaged 15 markers, five boards and six dimes in their whole run in the playoffs. But it’s always harder to defend a title, and this year is proving to be his real redemption year.
It’ll be interesting to see how he steps up in Game 7.