There isn’t a lot flashy about Kyle Lowry’s game, and maybe that’s why he’s been one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He doesn’t have a patented fadeaway jumper or a tantalizing crossover dribble, and he doesn’t leave you in awe with fancy no-look passes.
What Lowry has are things you can’t teach. His grit, competitive nature and tenacity are all hallmarks established growing up in North Philly. Each of those traits was on display Wednesday night in the Raptors' 125-122 win against the Celtics on that avoided elimination In Game 6.
Lowry had 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting and played 53 minutes in the double-overtime thriller. The best example of his competitive nature may have been the tenacious defense he played on Jayson Tatum in the overtime periods while having five fouls. He knew his team couldn’t afford to lose him, but the savvy veteran still made key defensive stops.
Despite being a six-time All-Star and an NBA champion, Lowry has spent most of his career underappreciated. Lowry and DeMar DeRozan couldn’t get over the “playoff LeBron” hurdle, and Kawhi Leonard received most of the fanfare during last year’s championship run.
Toronto’s success this season is putting more respect on Lowry’s name, and he’s earning it. After his fadeaway jumper with 11.7 seconds left, NBA players showed their admiration.
A pivotal Game 7 is next, and you have to wonder how much Lowry has left in the tank after averaging a series-high 42.1 minutes. No matter how it ends, add this performance to the legend of Lowry. His highly debated Hall of Fame case grew stronger Wednesday night.
Texans and Chiefs considering joint protest
The NFL was in training camp when the NBA, MLB, MLS and other leagues increased their actions on peacefully protesting before games. The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs' much-anticipated Thursday night kickoff is almost here, and the players are reportedly discussing plans to protest peacefully.
NFL Network reported that players from both teams are discussing ways to protest. The NFL has encouraged players to do more.
The opening game will more than likely blow all NBA playoff games and MLB games out of the water in terms of ratings. When it comes to viewership, no sport in America draws as many eyes as the NFL. In 2019, 41 of the 50 most-watched TV broadcasts were NFL games.
Thursday’s game will feature young NFL stars Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — two Black quarterbacks who have openly spoken about social injustice — so players will maximize tonight’s platform.
Michael Porter Jr. makes rookie mistake after the game
Some things you just don’t say. Michael Porter Jr. is learning that in his rookie season.
After the Nuggets lost to the Clippers on Wednesday night in Game 4, Porter Jr. was asked about Denver’s getting more teammates involved outside of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Denver scored 85 points and shot just 39.7% from the field.
“That’s really up to the play call. That’s really up to the coaches," Porter Jr. said. “We kept going to Jokic and Jamal. They are two amazing players but to beat that team, we got to get more players involved, we got to move the ball a little bit better, we can’t be predictable against that team.”
Porter Jr. should be glad this isn’t the regular season, because his in-game involvement would decrease even more. It’s possibly that his minutes still might be shortened in Game 5 because of those comments.
It’s not about whether he’s wrong or right, but it sends a bad message. Murray and Jokic have been Denver’s best two players in the postseason, and they both lead the Nuggets in assists.
Even if Porter Jr. is right, that’s something you should discuss with teammates and coaches, because it can send a divisive message in an inopportune time when they have to hear it through others.
Veteran NBA players know that’s a no-no. Damian Lillard was shaking his head listening to the presser.
Porter Jr. will learn from this, but hopefully for his sake, it doesn’t come at the expense of losing minutes in an elimination game Friday.