National Basketball Association

Jurassic Heart

September 11

On Wednesday night in Orlando, the Toronto Raptors proved there's no underestimating the heart of a small dinosaur.

The reigning NBA champion Raptors have found themselves on the brink of extinction more than once in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Boston Celtics, falling behind 2-0 and then, 3-2.

However, behind the leadership of its All-Star point guard, Toronto has clawed back and forced a Game 7, with a chance to go to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line.

The Raptors pulled off a 125-122 double overtime victory over the Celtics on Wednesday, in large part because of Kyle Lowry, who put up 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in 53 minutes. 

Lowry's counting stats this series of 21.5 points, 6.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds are indeed impressive, but when taking a deeper dive into the numbers, one thing becomes clear: when Lowry is on, so are the Raptors.

In Toronto's three wins this series, Lowry is averaging 28.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists, while shooting 51% from the field and 43% from three-point range.

Lowry's dominant Game 6 performance – which included 6 made three-pointers – earned him the praise of Stephen A. Smith, who admitted to leaving Lowry and the Raptors for dead after they fell behind down 2-0 to Boston.

"I've got to give major, major props to Kyle Lowry, who was the MVP [on Wednesday]. He put forth an absolutely sensational performance. He deserves all of the credit in the world."

And Smith wasn't the only member of the NBA universe to give Lowry his flowers during and after Game 6.

Facing a 2-0 deficit didn't represent uncharted waters for Lowry or the Raptors, seeing as how they were down 2-0 in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals before storming back to win four straight on their way to the NBA Finals.

In last season's ECF, Lowry averaged 19.2 points while shooting 51% from the field and 47% from three-point range, including a big 25-point performance in Game 4.

Now, the 6-time All-Star gets yet another chance to push his team a step closer to the NBA Finals.

In five career Game 7s, Lowry maintains averages of 18.4 points, 6.0 assists and 5.2 rebounds, while shooting 42.6% from the field and 41.6% from three-point range. His career record is 3-2 in series-deciding games.

It's officially win or go home for both the Raptors and Celtics, and Game 7 will tip off on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.


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