TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry was finally playing like a two-time All-Star again on Saturday afternoon, and with Game 3 hanging in the balance, the Toronto Raptors point guard looked up and saw future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade was guarding him.
It was time for him to make another play.
It was time for him to stick the dagger in the Miami Heat.
Lowry took four hard left-handed dribbles and pulled up quickly from the left side of the floor -- 15 feet away -- not giving Wade the chance to contest it.
In Toronto's previous nine playoff games, the shot probably wouldn't have gone in.
But this game was different. Lowry was absolutely locked in.
His midrange jumper fell -- the last of 12 consecutive fourth-quarter points he scored for his team -- and the Raptors had an 89-86 lead with 31.7 seconds remaining.
Heat president Pat Riley appeared begrudgingly impressed before taking a sip from his water bottle.
Toronto had regained home-court advantage, with its 30-year-old veteran leading the way.
Lowry came in averaging just 13.6 points on 30.8 percent shooting in the playoffs, but erupted for a postseason career-high 33 points -- 29 of them in the second half -- and the Raptors took a 2-1 series lead with a 95-91 victory at American Airlines Arena.
It was his first 30-point game since March 18.
"I was just being myself, just having that mentality to be a killer," Lowry told ESPN.com after scoring 15 points in the third and 14 more in the fourth. "I was just looking at D-Wade doing his thing and I was like, I need to match him. So it was just that ongoing, eternal one-on-one team battle. You know what I mean?"
Wade also had 29 second-half points -- 38 overall.
"When you get the opportunity to quiet the crowd and make a big shot against a great team and a great player, it's always good -- especially playing against a guy I've grown up watching," Lowry said. "I'm such a big fan of [Dwyane], still am."
Lowry came in having shot under 40 percent in each of his first nine playoff games this season -- an NBA record during the shot clock era (1954-55, minimum 10 attempts per game). He also had hit nine of 57 3-point attempts.
On Saturday afternoon, he went 11-for-19 from the field and 5-for-8 from beyond the arc -- including a perfect 5-for-5 in the second half.
"Kyle finally got the lid off the bucket," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
It came at an important time, too.
Toronto, capitalizing on Heat center Hassan Whiteside's potentially serious knee injury, built a 13-point lead running its offense through Jonas Valanciunas (16 points, 12 rebounds) before the 7-footer sprained his right ankle and exited the game in the third quarter. Miami countered with a 32-13 run, and it looked like the Raptors were about to implode in a big way.
Lowry wouldn't let that happen, going on his personal fourth-quarter run that included two 3-pointers, a pair of free throws, a layup and that all-important pull-up J.
"I'm just trying to win. That's all that matters," said Lowry, who held a postgame shooting session until 1:15 a.m. following Game 1.
"Last game, I felt better [hitting those two midrange jumpers in the fourth quarter]. I've got great people in my corner, so it's just like they want me to be successful and I don't want to let them down."
Lowry's best friend on the team, DeMar DeRozan, has been one of his biggest supporters.
"It makes it a lot easier," DeRozan, who had 19 points on 17 shots along with six rebounds and five assists, said jokingly.
"Damn," Lowry responded.
If Valanciunas can come back and Whiteside can't, the series could really swing in Toronto's favor.
Now the Raptors just need Lowry, who has been banged up -- both physically (with his sore right elbow) and mentally -- to keep this up.
"It gives us another look," DeRozan said. "JV has been playing extremely well. They have to worry about him. When Kyle's making shots you have to pick and choose who you're going to worry about, and when guys are hitting shots like that, it really makes us a tougher team to beat."
Added Lowry: "I don't doubt myself. I just go out there and play. And at the end of the day, I can live with everything people say about me."