After seeing his team get embarrassed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Kyle Lowry needed to have a big performance in Game 2. Instead, he shot 4-of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-8 from three, to finish with 10 points.
Toronto lost, 108-89.
Even worse, Lowry walked to the locker room with less than three minutes to go in the first half. Perhaps you assumed, as many people probably dd, that Lowry was injured.
He needed to “decompress.”
“It’s been a long playoffs for those guys,” former Raptor Mo Peterson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Two Game 7s and then you go up against LeBron and the Cavs, who are probably playing their best basketball in the playoffs, winning 10 straight games. It can be frustrating and everybody handles things different. But as a leader of that team, he’s trying to put that team on his back. If you look at the last series against the Heat, he and DeMar (DeRozan) started off and didn’t really have their best games and they weren’t playing their best, but they ended up getting through that series and turning it around. It can be frustrating. I can’t tell you what was going on in his head.”
Still, Brandon Tierney, like many, can’t believe Lowry more or less abandoned his team in a game the Raptors desperately needed to win.
“Yeah, I agree with you,” Peterson said. “Different people handle different things differently. Like I said, you do have a good point. You sink with the ship. I don’t think that’s the case with him. He’s always been a team guy. Sometimes people make mistakes and we handle things different. You just got to learn from it and grow from it. I expect for him to come out in Game 3 and just lay it out on the line.”
Game 3 is Friday in Toronto at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Looking at the Western Conference Finals, Peterson, who won a national championship at Michigan State in 2000, spoke glowingly of former Spartan Draymond Green.
“We’ve been having this debate because I thought Draymond and even Klay (Thompson), I thought those guys deserved a few MVP votes as well for the way they’re playing,” Peterson said. “But Draymond, it goes with the mentality. He’s a guy who’s always been told he’s too small, he’s too short – so he’s been carrying that chip on his shoulder for a while. Even in high school, he won a couple of state championships and didn’t feel like he was getting the respect. He got to Michigan State and had a great career.”
Tom Izzo, who was in attendance for Game 2 against the Thunder, had a lot to do with that.
“You know Coach Izzo is,” Peterson said. “He’s in your face, aggressive, a great coach and he’s going to get everything from you. Draymond has definitely taken a page out of the Spartan notebook and went on to the next level and is just playing great. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. He’s been the heart and soul of that team. If you take a Draymond away from a Golden State, you’re taking away a valuable player. He’s done great. I’m real proud of him, the way he’s handled himself, the way he’s leaving everything on the court. He’s just continued to prove people wrong.
“After the All-Star break, he kind of blew up on the team because he didn’t feel like the guys were giving their effort,” Peterson continued. “I think a lot of people were like, ‘why would he do that?’ But I think he lit a fire under those guys. Every team needs a Draymond Green.”