Our friends at TSN and Sportsnet are replaying the now historic Toronto Raptors championship run in its entirety, starting tonight with Game 1 of the first-round series against the Orlando Magic.
That's right - you have the chance to re-live the "Kyle Lowry game," the one in which he was ridiculed for going 0-for-7 from the field and failed to score a single point.
Lowry would later prove all doubters wrong with his performance throughout the postseason, but in the aftermath of the Game 1 loss to the Magic, he was hammered.
On the surface, having your All-Star starting point guard offer up a donut in a playoff game is grounds for criticism, but was Lowry really that bad? Was he really the reason the Raptors lost Game 1 the way that everyone seemed to think?
Let's take a deeper look.
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The easiest thing to do is look at Lowry's point total and automatically assume he had an awful game, but those who know Lowry's game understand that it's the little things that make him special.
For starters, Lowry finished the game with a team-high plus-11. He was the only starter on the Raptors with a positive plus-minus and was second to only former Raptor Terrence Ross (plus-13) for the highest plus-minus in the game. Plus-minus doesn't always tell the story of how a player plays in a particular game, but considering the fact that Lowry didn't score a single point, to have a positive plus-minus - let alone one of the highest in the game - shows that he didn't pull a complete disappearing act like some would have you believe.
Again, for Lowry, scoring isn't everything.
Despite the zilch in the scoring column, Lowry still had a game-high eight assists. It was right on par to what he had been doing all season where he averaged a career-high 8.7 dimes per game after giving up some of his scoring responsibility to the emerging Pascal Siakam and one of the league's most-feared scorers in Kawhi Leonard.
Lowry had found comfort in his new playmaking role with the team and that spilled over to Game 1 against the Magic. No one touched the ball more than Lowry, who had his paws on the rock 85 times, and no one threw more passes (72) than the point guard. Lowry made 16 more passes than anyone else in the game, trying to keep his team moving and create opportunities for them. He finished with eight assists, but according to NBA Stats, Lowry left 15 potential assists on the table.
The Raptors finished the game shooting just 45.5% from the field, slightly below their season average (47.4%), and just 33.3% from three - again, below their season average (36.6%). While Lowry certainly contributed to that with his 0-for-7 night, the rest of the team wasn't exactly on fire.
Another myth is that D.J. Augustin, who had the game of his life with a game-high 25 points and the game-sealing triple, torched Lowry. There's no denying that Augustin was the best of the two on that Saturday evening, but he didn't torch Lowry - in fact, no one did.
According to NBA Stats, Lowry defended 42.9 partial possessions, which was the second most of the team. He gave up only six points on 33.3% shooting on those possessions. And while the Magic shot an incredible 48.3% from 3-point range - nailing 14 triples - Lowry was one of three Raptors to not give up a single 3-pointer.
Lowry also forced a game-high four turnovers in his defensive matchups.
Look, hindsight is 20/20 and in the end, Lowry got the last laugh, but as we all re-watch Toronto's championship run and Raptor fans re-live the crushing defeat that is Game 1 against the Magic, remember that Lowry wasn't as bad as you remember him being despite not scoring a single point.
If that doesn't help, Game 2 of the series airs on Saturday night on TSN at 8:00 p.m. ET. Lowry gave the Magic 22 points and seven assists on 61.5% shooting from the field in that one.
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