When Kyle Lowry first showed up in Toronto nobody could have expected what he would become. He was a cantankerous, so-called 'coach killer' on his third team in seven years. Then Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo took a risk sending Gary Forbes and a first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for the 25-year-old Lowry.
Nine years later, now 34 years old, Lowry etched his name in the record books, joining Chris Bosh and DeMar DeRozan as the only Raptors players to eclipse the 10,000 point mark in a Raptors uniform. All it took was 569 games and one minute into Wednesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks for Lowry to do it, nailing one of his patented pull-up 3s to hit 10,001 points with Toronto. Unfortunately for Raptors fans, it came in a 115-108 loss to the Bucks, dropping Toronto to 7-11 on the season and spoiling another impressive game from the franchise leader.
"I would have never expected it to be here," Lowry said of reaching 10,000 points with Toronto. "But it just shows in life things happen for a reason and situations happen for reasons, and you continue to work hard and you continue to believe yourself and having a city like Toronto backing me. ... It just shows that hard work pays off. In life you can't pick and choose where you’re meant to be, but when you are there you take full advantage of it."
That pull-up 3 has been Lowry's bread and butter for so long. In a league dominated by catch-and-shoot players, Lowry has no problem shooting off the dribble. Last season, for example, he shot 43% on pull-up 3s.
"It’s something he works on religiously," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "There’s a little bit of, are they gonna step up and he can take to the rim or get to the paint at least. So I just think that any time you play with pace up the floor, you’re putting the defence in a little bit of a bind and I think when he races it up like that he’s got a couple of options of things he can do there."
Back in Lowry's earlier days head coach Dwane Casey used to hate that pull-up 3, Lowry said, but Lowry being, well, Lowry, wouldn't give in to his coach.
"I think he kind of figured out that I was going to continue to take it," he said with a smile. "He kind of said, 'alright, if you're going to take it, you better make it.'"
That's part of what makes Lowry so special. His ability to read a situation, process all the information, and analyze it instantaneously. Whenever the Raptors are in a rut offensively he seems to be there to quickly change the feel of the game, either with his pull-up 3 or attacking the rim whenever the defence steps up to stop him.
"He’s a heady guy, he knows the game, he can read the game really quickly and when he needs to turn it up and turn it on when we need some points, and shoulder those little stretches when a team is struggling to find a bucket he turns it on," Norman Powell said.
Lowry did it again on Wednesday, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as he tried to will the Raptors to a victory they couldn't quite clinch.
With 10,000 points in the books for Lowry as a Raptor, the next task will be catching Chris Bosh at 10,275 points with Toronto. After that, it's a long way to DeMar DeRozan with 13,296 Raptors points.
"DeMar was a lot more of a gunner, so he's got a lot more points because he shot the ball every time, and he never looked to pass, because he's a gunner," said Lowry, taking a friendly jab at his old friend. "He still is a gunner. And I probably won't catch him because he's a gunner. And he shot the ball way too much. There were so many possessions where I was wide open and he just wouldn't pass me the ball because he knew I was going to catch him. He's a gunner."
Norman Powell Stars Again
Every time Powell is asked to take on a bigger offensive workload he seems to thrive. His 26 points on Wednesday led the way for the Raptors and it five straight games in which he's scored 20 or more points when stepping into the starting lineup as an injury replacement this season.
"He’s played well here lately which his good to see," Nurse said. "He’s found a groove a little bit and, again, it’s kind of translating to both ends. He’s playing really hard on D and pretty solidly down there, too, which is good. And give him 40 minutes here or there, he ought to be getting in shape and that’s helping him, too."
Up Next: Sacramento Kings
The Raptors will continue their homestand on Friday when the Sacramento Kings come to town for a 7:30 p.m. ET tipoff.