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SportsScott Stinson: After years as the face of Raptors heartbreak, Kyle Lowry is redeemed

22:15  15 june  2019
22:15  15 june  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

It’s another foul finish for Kyle Lowry in Raptors’ Game 2 loss

It’s another foul finish for Kyle Lowry in Raptors’ Game 2 loss Kyle Lowry had made a three-pointer and taken a charge and had finished an old fashioned three-point play, the kind of all-around disruptive game that has been his trademark since he arrived in Toronto seven seasons ago. Then the fouls came and the whistles tooted and Game 2 of the NBA Finals bogged down, with Lowry reduced to spectator at the end and Toronto unable to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to bury the Golden State Warriors. Instead, with Lowry limited to 28 minutes by foul trouble that created some herky-jerky playing rotations and saw him foul out with just under four minutes to go, the Raptors were beaten 109-104 by the Golden State Warriors on Sunda

Kyle Terrell Lowry (born March 25, 1986) is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Share this story. Scott Stinson : Toronto Raptors ' championship proves the merits of going for it in an age of cautious rebuilds. But the Toronto Raptors have just turned that argument on its ear. There’s some irony here in that Ujiri did almost trade Kyle Lowry in 2014 as the first step of a total teardown

Scott Stinson: After years as the face of Raptors heartbreak, Kyle Lowry is redeemed© Provided by PostMedia Digital

(Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.)

TORONTO • Kyle Lowry did not lack for big playoff moments before the 2019 playoff season. There were the 71 combined points he scored in back-to-back games to finish the second-round series against Miami four years ago, or the two 35-point games he had against Cleveland in the following round, or any number of games against LeBron James and the Cavs in the last couple of years when Toronto’s bulldog of a point guard often seemed like the only player in a Raptors uniform who rose to the occasion.

Toronto Raptors take series lead with Game 3 win over Golden State Warriors

Toronto Raptors take series lead with Game 3 win over Golden State Warriors With a 123-109 win, the Raptors dominated throughout the game. At one point, the team had a 17-point lead over the Warriors. Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 30 points and Kyle Lowry had 23 points. READ MORE: Toronto Raptors fans in California rallying in numbers ahead of NBA Finals But it was Danny Green who had a break-out performance. He sunk six three-pointers, walking away with 18 points. Pascal Siakam had 18 points and Marc Gosal had 12. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry had a strong game. He led the Warriors with 47 points followed by Draymond Green with 17 points.

Kawhi Leonard told Kyle Lowry that he knew Lowry was mad about the trade, but he wanted to find a way to make it work in Toronto. The Kawhi Leonard trade carried some risks for the Toronto Raptors , in part because he was dealt for DeMar DeRozan, the face of the franchise and Kyle Lowry 's best

Technically, that one has been a multi-day affair. Not long after Golden State’s impossibly lanky scoring weapon crumpled to a heap on the Scotiabank Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant sits on the court after re-injuring his leg during Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors . Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

But when you are the unquestioned leader of a team with an unfortunate habit of theatrically slipping on a banana peel right when the playoff pressure is ratcheted up, a lot of people who don’t pay close attention to the Raptors — which, as we learned this season, includes an awful lot of the American NBA-watching public — you end up getting the bad-in-the-playoffs label.

No one remembers the good performances in a losing effort, but everyone remembers the sights of Lowry searching for answers in a post-game interview after another thrashing. This probably reached its nadir just last season, when James hit that running, floating bank shot to win Game 3 against Toronto and all but finish off the Raptors, and Lowry took to the interview podium alone. His usual partner in such sessions, DeMar DeRozan, had been benched while the Raptors roared back into that game against the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, and he had been spared the indignity of the formal interview.

Kyle Lowry jumps into stands, gets into altercation with Warriors fan

Kyle Lowry jumps into stands, gets into altercation with Warriors fan Early in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry jumped into the first row of the stands at Oracle Arena in an attempt to save a loose ball, but was not well-received by one of the Warriors fans sitting there. Lowry collided with two fans upon landing in the stands, and knocked one of them backwards into the row behind them. ALSO: Drake nowhere in sight at Game 3 of NBA Finals, but Beyonce, Jay-Z and many others were there © Provided by Hearst NewspapersKyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors attempts to save the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the second half during Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 05, 201

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Kyle Lowry celebrate after beating the Golden State Kawhi Leonard to Kyle Lowry . The focal point of the Raptors offense throughout the Finals Leonard led the team in scoring all season and carried them to their first final in the franchise’s 24- year history.

Kyle Lowry - Career stats, game logs, biographical info, awards, and achievements for the NBA and NCAA. 6/10 USA Basketball has officially announced the group of 20 players that will participate in training camp this summer in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Lowry said he was lonely at the podium, and the mood was about as grim as it gets in such a setting. “I miss my guy,” he said. It would turn out to be some unintended foreshadowing.

There is a bounty of interesting stories to emerge from the shock NBA title run that the Toronto Raptors completed on Thursday night, but the final redemption of Kyle Lowry has to be the one most dear to the hearts of long-time fans of the team named for a dinosaur movie.

Consider the year that the 33-year-old, in his 13 th NBA season, had. Eleven months ago he found out that DeRozan, his best friend and backcourt partner, had been shipped to San Antonio in the Kawhi Leonard trade. Lowry, never one to signal messages through the media, went into full retreat. Team president Masai Ujiri made no attempt to claim that everything with Lowry was tickety-boo, and when Lowry attended a USA Basketball camp last summer, he declined to answer any Raptors-related questions. That was that until training camp, when Lowry came to Scotiabank Arena and met the media for the first time in the 2018/19 season — and promptly zipped a KL-branded hoodie over his Raptors jersey. Was it a coded message that he was angry at the organization with which he had signed a three-year contract, matching his tenure with that of DeRozan? Or was he maybe just chilly?

Report: Fan who pushed Kyle Lowry in Game 3 is part Warriors owner

Report: Fan who pushed Kyle Lowry in Game 3 is part Warriors owner During Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena Wednesday night, Kyle Lowry went into the stands as he attempted to stop a ball from going out of bounds. 

Scott Stinson : It is like they spent years planning a trip to Everest base camp and then once there The Raptors had not felt destined to do this until, maybe, last Friday. It is like they spent years Big early shots from Kyle Lowry and big late ones from Fred VanVleet, as the Warriors threw everything

Scott Stinson : After latest big game, Kyle Lowry shows that ‘Playoff Lowry ’ may not be such a The Toronto Raptors , authors of so much playoff heartbreak in recent seasons, getting a couple of key And yet they did, and as happened to the Raptors last year when so many chances to win Game 1

Lowry offered no clues, and professed that there was nothing unusual about his utter lack of public reaction to the trade of his pal. He said the off-season was a time to do his own thing, not deal with Raptors management or his new head coach. One didn’t need to be an expert in interpersonal relations to figure out that Lowry, stung by the trade, did not appear too interested in smoothing things out for his bosses. He never endorsed the idea that changes were necessary, stating merely that he understood that basketball was a business and that his job was to play with whomever else was on the roster. That the wounds were raw was understandable. The DeRozan trade, and the firing of head coach Dwane Casey, were tacit admissions from Ujiri that he had decided the team that Lowry helmed with pride simply was not good enough.

But, true to his word, Lowry did his job. When new coach Nick Nurse shifted Serge Ibaka to centre and platooned him with Jonas Valanciunas, Lowry immediately capitalized by playing an aggressive pick-and-roll game with whichever big man was on the floor with him. Ibaka flourished in the new role, a particularly welcome development given that he had been a non-factor in both his Toronto playoff runs, and Lowry deserved a lot of the early credit for making it work.

Scott Stinson: Warriors minority owner’s shove on Lowry reminds rest of world why it is rooting against Golden State

Scott Stinson: Warriors minority owner’s shove on Lowry reminds rest of world why it is rooting against Golden State The Toronto Raptors aren’t just playing against a historically good basketball team, they now find themselves battling the Evil Empire , the team that everyone suddenly loves to hate. The Warriors are the team of Silicon Valley, a former plucky upstart that rose to prominence right around the same time that the world cottoned onto the fact that tech firms are amassing incredible wealth and trampling over personal privacy and monitoring what you eat and when you sleep.

“ Kyle Lowry , Toronto Raptors ,” he deadpanned, and it was something. The face of all those playoff stumbles, the guy who wore those losses like a yoke even if he rarely deserved much of the blame, was smiling and joking at the end of an NBA season. He asked VanVleet how it felt to be a champion.

Kyle Lowry came to Ujiri's rescue, saying 'we're over here,' while pulling Ujiri into the Raptors ' championship celebrations. Masai Ujiri is reportedly under police investigation after an altercation between the Toronto Raptors president and a sheriff’s deputy following the team’s Game 6 victory

For all he did on the court, though, he was still far from sunshine and rainbows off of it. As the Raptors roared out of the gate to a 20-4 start, Lowry was often asked, in different ways, if he recognized that the ceiling for this group of players seemed higher than previous Raptors teams. But, ever the clever point guard, Lowry sniffed out these questions for what they sought: an acknowledgement on his part that the Raptors were better with Leonard than they were with DeRozan. It was an acknowledgement he avoided giving, choosing instead to offer some version of “it’s a business” or “we’re all professionals” when the touchy subject of the trade was raised.

To the extent that lingering bitterness over the trade needed to be addressed, Ujiri and Lowry had a meeting before the February trade deadline, with the president telling his team leader that if he was going to upgrade the Raptors roster with another all-in move, he wanted assurances that Lowry would, in fact, be all-in. “We sat down and we really talked about what we wanted to accomplish, and it’s a tough conversation but these are conversations that you have to have,” Ujiri said on the eve of the Finals.

Once Ujiri brought in Marc Gasol at the trade deadline — at the cost of three rotation players — Lowry embraced a changed role where even less of the offensive burden fell on his shoulders. Gasol’s passing ability allowed the Raptors to run certain actions through him, and when the big Spaniard was eventually moved into the starting lineup, the two-man game that Lowry had been running with Ibaka became an ancillary part of the Toronto offence. Asked on a late-season road trip about how the team was winning games easily even with Lowry only sparingly taking shots, the point guard gave a slight smile. “Man, I haven’t scored all year,” he said. “But if they need me to score, I’ll score.”

Draymond Green: Kyle Lowry incident shows how players are 'vulnerable'

Draymond Green: Kyle Lowry incident shows how players are 'vulnerable' Draymond Green believes the incident involving Kyle Lowry and a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors during Wednesday’s Game 3 of the Finals illustrates how NBA players are “vulnerable” in exchanges with fans. The fan involved in the incident with the Toronto Raptors star was identified as Mark Stevens, a venture capitalist who joined Golden State Warriors ownership in 2013. The altercation occurred after Lowry leapt into the stands in an effort to save the ball from going out of bounds. The fan shoved Lowry after the play and was later escorted out of Oracle Arena. Stevens was ultimately fined $500,000 by the NBA and banned from attending games for one year.

Kyle Lowry kisses the trophy after the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA championship in franchise history. But the beauty of Lowry is that he is always looking to make his teammates better, always understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Kyle Lowry kisses the trophy after the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA championship in franchise history. But the beauty of Lowry is that he is always looking to make his teammates better, always understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Then the playoffs began, and Lowry didn’t score. At all. He took a bagel in the opener against Orlando, missing all seven of his shots and even his two free throws. More ominously, he was lit up by D.J. Augustin in the first half of that game. When it was over and the Raptors had somehow managed to lose a series-opening game again, it was Lowry who took the brunt of the ridicule. Zero points for a five-time All-Star will do that.

When Lowry got on the board in Game 2 with a free throw — he had missed his first attempt from the line — the Scotiabank Arena exploded in a cheer that at once showed the crowd’s love for Lowry but was also a touch embarrassing, like it was a parent loudly cheering a toddler’s wobbly first steps: “You made a free throw, Kyle! Good for YOU.” Lowry would go on to score a tidy 22 points in that second game, and the pattern would occasionally repeat itself as the playoffs wore on.

Frisson

He would have a bad shooting night, there would be a frisson of Lowry-doubt in the off-day coverage, and then he would come back with another strong performance. He was 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in Game 7 against Philadelphia, but in Game 1 against Milwaukee he was 7-for-9 from distance on his way to a 2019 playoff high of 30 points.

Lowry had been up and down in the Finals, too, until the Game of His Life on Thursday night, 26 points, 10 assists, and the usual large handful of clever momentum-swinging plays that Peak Lowry has a knack for making. He scored Toronto’s first 11 points, and after the championship was in hand various Champagne-soaked Raptors said those early buckets had been crucial. They needed him to score, and Kyle Lowry scored. Over the last two playoff rounds, he averaged almost 18 points a game and shot an important 42 per cent from three-point range.

Perhaps even more important than all that, Lowry kept it cool when he was shoved by a Warriors fan, who later turned out to be a minority owner, in Game 3; had he lashed out he could easily have been forced to miss time. And keeping up the heady off-court work, he rescued Ujiri late on Thursday night after an altercation with security, pulling the Raptors boss to him and wrapping him in an embrace. If you knew the history and the context, it was about a nice a sports moment as it is possible to see.

Before the Finals kicked off, Ujiri had offered this about Lowry: “I’ve seen him grow. I’ve seen him grow as a person, as a leader on our team, and he can only get better from here.”

He would soon be proven right. But, that’s no surprise. Masai Ujiri has been making a lot of correct calls.

Postmedia News

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