Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse pays Kyle Lowry the highest compliment he can think of

OG Anunoby's game-winning 3-pointer was the talk of Game 3, but the biggest reason the Toronto Raptors were even in a position to defeat the Boston Celtics at that point of the game was the play of Kyle Lowry.

Playing 46 of a possible 48 minutes, Lowry scored a game-high 31 points on 13-for-23 shooting from the field, marking his first 30-point game in the playoffs since 2016. He also dished out a game-high eight assists to go along with six rebounds and two steals in the one-point victory.

What the stats don't show is that it was Lowry who set the tone for the Raptors in what was essentially a must-win game. Down 2-0, the Raptors faced the prospect of trailing 3-0 in their second-round series with the Celtics, a hole no team in NBA history has ever come out from. Lowry came out aggressive in the first quarter and kept his foot on the gas the rest of the game, culminating in him scoring seven points and dishing out four assists in the fourth quarter, the last of those assists being the one that set Anunoby up for his last-second shot.

The next day, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse paid Lowry the highest compliment he could think of.

"I'm not sure I've ever seen anybody play the game harder, any place I've ever coached or watching a game or anything," Nurse said of Lowry, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. "I don't know of any higher compliment I could give the guy than that. He does it all by sheer will and toughness."

Through three games against the Celtics, Lowry is averaging 21.3 points, 7.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals, doing so on 45.1 percent shooting from the field. He's struggled from the perimeter, connecting on only three of his 20 3-point attempts, but he was able to knock down a pair of timely 3s in Game 3.

The Raptors have been a different team with Lowry on the court, going from posting an offensive rating of 103.6 to 78.4 with him on the bench.

The Raptors will need Lowry to be at his best again in Saturday's Game 4 when they look to tie the series up at 2-2.

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