Kyle Lowry’s turned himself into an elite player — one of the NBA’s best point guards, a three-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist — in part by always seeming to go 100 miles per hour when it matters most, throwing his bulk and brass into the fray if it might mean increasing the Toronto Raptors’ chances of winning even a little bit. So when teammate Delon Wright’s running layup came up empty with just over a minute left in overtime of Monday night’s meeting with the Brooklyn Nets, and the score knotted at 110, of course Lowry was going to go up hard for the rebound.
Sometimes, though, when you go up hard, you also go down hard:
Damn, Kyle Lowry went down HARD on this play pic.twitter.com/5zwSV3usii
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) January 9, 2018
As Lowry rose for the rebound, so did Nets wing Joe Harris, flying in from the baseline. The two collided in mid-air, and as Lowry recoiled from the impact, Nets big man Quincy Acy inadvertently undercut the point guard, taking his right leg out from under him. Lowry, then, went down flat and extremely hard on his back in the paint, immediately arching and writhing in pain on the ground.
He attempted to get to his feet on his own, but took a couple of steps and quickly buckled back down to the court, where he stayed until medical personnel came to check him out:
Kyle Lowry tried to walk it off but he ended up falling back down pic.twitter.com/zQbAe6GbRd
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) January 9, 2018
Eventually, Lowry needed the aid of teammates to get back to the visitors’ locker room at Barclays Center, ending his night and leaving Toronto without its floor general for the balance of the proceedings:
Kyle Lowry gets carried off the floor by his teammates after suffering an injury in OT against Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/jGG1gZtIrv
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 9, 2018
All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan would finish the job, continuing his torrid run with a three-point play with 26.1 seconds left that gave Toronto a one-point lead. Nets standout Spencer Dinwiddie had a chance to answer, but his driving scoop layup attempt sailed over the backboard, allowing the Raptors to score a 114-113 win.
Dinwiddie, who has made it clear recently that he feels he and his Brooklyn teammates don’t get an appropriate amount of respect from NBA officials on bang-bang plays (and especially in close-and-late situations), broke the fourth wall after the play to express his discontent of not getting the benefit of a foul call after taking contract on his jaunt through the lane:
spencer dinwiddie complained about no-calls after the boston game, says “that’s exactly what i was talking about” directly into the camera after missing the go ahead shot tonight pic.twitter.com/yKiFDTMZsa
— Becca Laurie (@imbeccable) January 9, 2018
Dinwiddie’s frustrations aside, what the Raptors and their fans were talking about after the game was the status of Lowry, who last summer signed a three-year, $100 million deal to continue acting as the straw that stirs the drink for Dwane Casey’s club.
The veteran lead guard had shaken off a December cold snap with a red-hot start to 2018, averaging 18.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds in four January starts while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from 3-point land for the evolving and surging Raptors. Seeing him go down in a heap, and go off on in the arms of his teammates, sent a shiver down the spines of everybody watching.
The good news: Lowry seemed in pretty good spirits after the game.
Lowry being wheeled out for tests. He just yelled "x-ray on my ass."
— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) January 9, 2018
The better news: the damage from the fall doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad as it initially appeared.
Toronto guard Kyle Lowry is day-to-day on a return from a bone bruise on his tailbone, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2018
Kyle Lowry was examined Tuesday and was diagnosed with a bruised tailbone and back spasms. X-Rays were negative. Lowry will be treated by the Raptors medical team, and his condition will be reevaluated daily. Lowry will not play Tuesday vs. the Heat.
— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) January 9, 2018
And now, the bad part: the Raptors will be without Lowry on Tuesday evening, when they return north of the border for the back end of a back-to-back against the visiting Miami Heat.
That hurts, as Erik Spoelstra’s squad enters Air Canada Centre on a roll, having won of 11 of 15 to improve to 22-17 on the season, just a half-game out of the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. During that 15-game run, the only Eastern teams to post a better “net rating” (whether you outscore your opponent over the course of 100 possessions, or vice versa) than the Heat have been the Raptors and Washington Wizards. Casey would surely love to have Lowry on hand to help short-circuit a Miami perimeter attack led by playmaker Goran Dragic, versatile guards Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, and sniper Wayne Ellington. Instead, he and his charges will have to do without.
“We rely on Kyle for everything he does for us, to be the general out there on the court,” DeRozan said after the game. “And it’s tough when he’s not out there, but we got to figure it out.”
They’ll need to do so quickly, and to hope that Lowry’s bruised posterior starts feeling better ahead of a pair of big matchups against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday and the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. If Toronto can’t scramble the point-guard rotation to cover Lowry’s absence, and if the top dog isn’t back in form in a couple of days, this weekend could be … well, a real pain in the ass for the Raptors.
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