But for the second consecutive postseason, he hasn’t made shots. Through the first five games against the Indiana Pacers, Lowry is shooting just 31.4 percent from the field (22-for-70) and 18.8 percent (6-for-32) from 3-point territory.
The Raptors will live with that, however, as long as he’s doing everything else. And so far he has been.
“I’m not worried about Kyle’s shot,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Thursday before the team flew to Indianapolis for Game 6. “He’s not going to forget how to shoot the ball. It helps us when his shot is falling, but he does so many other positive things for us as a team to help us win.
“And as long as he’s doing those things he’ll still be a plus for us -- whether it’s diving on the floor for loose balls, taking charges, making sure he’s finding the open man, moving the ball, all of those things are positive. We know he’s a great 3-point shooter, but guys go through that. That’s not my concern because I know at some point it’s going to come around.”
Lowry has still averaged 15.2 points, 6.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds while getting to the free throw line 35 times. In Game 5, he came through with a huge tip for an offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter to help seal an improbable come-from-behind victory.
“That’s Kyle,” DeMar DeRozan said. “He’s always going to figure out how to do something to impact the game, and that’s what he did last night, especially in the fourth, making big plays. It may not show with the points, it may not show on the state sheet, but it’s a lot of things that Kyle does that help us to victory every single night.”
In 2015-16, Lowry shined when the lights were brightest. Against Golden State, he had 41 points. Against Cleveland, he had 43.
So perhaps his sore right elbow is still a problem, even though he’d never admit it. Lowry doesn’t make excuses or come out of games.
It’s what makes him the perfect face for the Raptors, the same guy who went from almost being traded to the New York Knicks as the centerpiece of
Toronto’s rebuild which never happened, to becoming a two-time All-Star starter on a perennial playoff team. The same guy who needed to improve as an outside shooter to become a dominant force at 6-feet tall and did just that.
His leadership skills have matured too, as has he. But for all he’s done here, he still needs to get this team to the second round for the first time in 15 years to validate everything.
“It’s a big task at hand,” Lowry said. “We all understand the things that have gone on in this organization the last couple years, and we’ve been a part of it so it’s going to be a fun time. At the end of the day, it’s still basketball and it’s going to be fun. We just have to go out there and swing for the fences and play hard.
“My job is always the same: to lead my team and help my team win -- no matter what it takes.”
Lowry is due. It’s time to make it happen. It’s time to put his injury-plagued struggles in last season’s playoffs in the past, too.
“We have to go out there and fight for our lives,” Lowry said. “We don’t want to let this series come back home.”