The phenomena of the postseason in sports is one that truly shows the mettle of players and organizations. Tom Brady seems invincible, while Alex Smith gave up the second-largest lead in NFL history. In the MLB, Madison Bumgarner seems like he is from another planet, while Clayton Kershaw seems to disappear.
Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry is consistently one of the top players in the league during the regular season. He had his career high in assists in 2018 with 9 per contest; second in the NBA.
Lowry initially got his feet wet in the 2013-2014 playoffs and was most remembered for his blocked layup to send Paul Piece and the Brooklyn Nets to the next round. This was most certainly a premonition of signs to come.
In the regular season, the Raptors have been an opponent to fear. In the last three years, they have gone 153-64 when Lowry is suited up. From the transition of regular season to playoffs, Lowry dips from 43% to 41% from the field, and 37% to 29% from 3-point range. Out of 10 playoff series Lowry has been part of, he has shot 23% or lower in 5 of them from behind the 3 point line.
These are numbers only emulated by Jason Kidd, but the magic numbers seems to be 41%. When Lowry shoots 41% or higher, Toronto is 16-9 in the postseason.
His matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2015-2016 season were skewed to those who only pay attention to box scores. Lowry’s averages of 20/5/5 look great, but he also totaled 3 games of 13 points less.
The Toronto Raptors own a 17-17 record in the playoffs over the last 4 seasons, but are 224-106 during the regular season. Their All-Star is notorious for disappearing when it matters most, and no longer holds DeMar DeRozan as a backup plan.
Lowry, a player who has averaged 7 assists per game through his career, holds 17 playoff games with 4 assists or less. In addition, his career scoring has gone from 19 points per game in the regular season to below 15 in the playoffs.
One way or another, if the Toronto Raptors reach the NBA Finals, this argument will be forgotten. However, if they fail to make it to that point, Lowry may turn into the scapegoat.
Featured image: Matthew Stockman, Getty Images