Kyle Lowry's halfcourt highlight can't cover up his playoff futility

May 3, 2016

Ignore the highlight.

Pay no attention to the heroic moment.

Kyle Lowry's halfcourt make at the buzzer to send Game 1 of Toronto's Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Miami Heat to overtime Tuesday is an outlier.

Despite what the Vine might tell you, Lowry, the All-Star point guard and the Raptors' best player, has been anything but an asset to the Raptors so far these playoffs.


To garner a better understanding of what Lowry has contributed to the Raptors' cause, pay more attention to the first 47:58 of the game and the five minutes of overtime

Including the miracle halfcourt 3-pointer, Lowry had seven points in the Raptors' 102-96 loss to the Heat, shooting 3-for-13 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.

It was just another subpar performance from Lowry these playoffs. Overall, he's shooting 30 percent on 111 field goal attempts and 16 percent from beyond the arc on 50 attempts.

His prayer might have been answered at the buzzer Tuesday, but Lowry has, on the whole, been shooting the Raptors' title chances away these playoffs.

It might be hard to remember, but Lowry was one of the best players in the NBA this season. That's why it might come across as outlandish to suggest that after Tuesday's game, Raptors coach Dwane Casey should consider giving backup point guard Cory Joseph more of Lowry's minutes going forward in this series.

That's because this isn't a slump —€” this isn't a strange blip —€” players of Lowry's caliber don't go on eight-game stretches this poor without reason.

Lowry's problem, whether he wants to admit it or not, is his elbow. Once you know it's bothering him, it's impossible not to see the point guard's tentativeness with extending his right arm on the court.

The Villanova product had that elbow drained in late March in an effort to reduce the pain and inflammation that had ailed him since he originally injured it on the team's trip to London (England, not Ontario) in January.

Before draining the elbow, Lowry wasn't able to extend his right arm. With that information in hand, his shooting slump (16-for-61) before that procedure shouldn't have come as a surprise.

But since that elbow was drained, Lowry's shooting hasn't improved. Since April begun, he's shooting 34 percent on 187 attempts.

More concerning is that the shooting is getting worse. Before the halfcourt heave went in Tuesday, Lowry shot a 27-foot 3-pointer down 6 with 22 seconds remaining.

The only problem?€” He was standing 29 feet from the hoop.

If not for a subsequent Luol Deng travel, that embarrassing airball would have been the Raptors' deathblow.

Perhaps the Raptors can overcome the clear limitation of the team's best player —€” they played the Heat close Tuesday without much of a contribution before the hail mary shot fell. But that seems unlikely.