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For years there was a perception that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played the kind of good cop, bad cop routine in the Toronto Raptors locker room.

The truth, however, was far more complicated.

DeRozan was indeed the California kid easy-going through and through. The picture of Lowry, though, wasn’t so accurate. Yes, he could be cantankerous and difficult at times but it’s also true that his teammates looked up to him and saw him as a mentor.

“I think he was pretty chill,” Pascal Siakam said Tuesday night when an inquiring reporter began digging for a story on how tough Lowry could be on his teammates. “Kyle was always cool, making sure that everyone was going out to dinner and things like that. Obviously, DeMar was just like a laid-back chill guy and Kyle, he was a little bit more vocal, but I always thought it was cool, like, I was his beloved, he's my beloved and, yeah, he was always good vibes.”

Siakam and Lowry shared an embrace post-game Tuesday night. The Raptors forward wouldn’t go into the details of what was said but it’s safe to say there’s a healthy appreciation for Lowry, especially as Siakam has taken over the mantle as Toronto’s top player and veteran voice in the Raptors’ locker room.

“We learned from him, like just being a pro all around,” Siakam added. “For me, I just remember him being in the gym every single day, coming in early, doing all the right things, like we watched that and it rubbed off on us. You had no choice but to want to be out there early or things like that. I just think that for me, I just saw the consistency every single day. Like you can’t kind of teach that and you can’t cheat it.”

You see that today in the way Siakam and VanVleet lead in Toronto. They’re pros, constantly in the gym fine-tuning their craft, and taking ownership of their reasonability as team leaders just as Lowry did.

This season hasn’t exactly been easy. At times Toronto’s chemistry and culture have been questioned with effort and energy being discussed far more than they should be. But nights like Tuesday show how far the Raptors have come, not just knocking off a talented albeit disappointing Miami Heat team, but doing it against Lowry, the man who seemingly started this whole era of Raptors basketball.

Further Reading

Scottie Barnes & Pascal Siakam show future is bright for Raptors in victory over Heat

Raptors discuss value of the play-in tournament for Toronto & the NBA

Jeff Dowtin Jr. continues to receive praise as contract decision looms