Kyle Lowry continues to struggle shooting the ball in this year’s playoffs, but the Toronto Raptors believe that a breakout performance is coming.
Despite hitting the shot of his career in Toronto’s 102-96 game one overtime loss to the Miami Heat - a desperation heave at the buzzer to send it to overtime - he was 3-for-13 from the field and just 1-for-7 from three-point range. The Raptors all-star is now a miserable 8-for-49 from downtown in the 2016 post-season.
But both DeMar DeRozan and head coach Dwane Casey see better things around the corner for Lowry, with game two coming on Thursday night.
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KEEPING THE FAITH
"I tell him all the time, good or bad, I've got the utmost confidence in him," explained DeRozan, who weighed in with 22 points in game one. "I don't care if he misses 15 shots in a row, I'm going to stand behind him just like if he's making 15 shots in a row.
"He's going to come around, it just sucks that we all had to go through this at this point of the season."
Casey pointed to all the extra ways that Lowry is contributing, even while his shot is not falling.
“We know he is not shooting the ball well, he’s not making shots he normally makes,” Casey added. “But we have to believe in him, we do believe in him, he’s going to come out of it.
“Even though he didn’t shoot the ball well, I thought in stretches down the stretch he got stuff done. I thought his bulldog tenacity set the tone for us defensively.
“As long as he does the things like he did at the end of the game defensively, making plays, screening, tough rebounds, put backs, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a jump shot so to speak. He gives us so much more than he does just shooting the basketball.”
ONE BAD STRETCH
Casey was pleased with his players effort overall, but identified a spell in the third quarter where his team faltered.
“There was a stretch there where we just didn’t execute on either end, on the defensive end or the offensive end, and in a playoff situation every possession is important and there was a stretch where we just didn’t get it done and they did.
“I liked our battle. I liked our fight. I think that’s what you’ve got to do in these situations. I liked the tempo of the game and the speed of the game benefitted us. We’ve just got to clean up some things and make sure we execute in certain situations and take care of business.”