The Ballad of Playoff Kyle Lowry is over, or at the very least, has a new tune. He played the best game of his career during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, and he won the eternal respect of Nick Nurse - if hadn’t endeared himself to the man already,
The Raptors’ head coach met with reporters Sunday for his end-of-year media availability and raved about Lowry’s competitive spirit.
“I'm incredibly happy for him to to achieve this incredible goal as a player. Man, it's really something that he gets to call himself an NBA champion. I'm incredibly happy for him,” he said. “I just think that, it was a good portion of this season, the majority of it, where he was as incredible off the floor and in the locker room as he was on it. That was, like I say, a majority of this season, and he was, like, so fun to coach.”
Lowry’s playoff run is almost too neatly packaged. After scoring zero points in a Game 1 loss to the Orlando Magic, Lowry bore the brunt of criticism from fans and analysts. During the Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Lowry had his finest hour, putting up 26 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and playing outstanding defence to cement his Raptors legacy.
“I've never seen anyone play harder than this guy. Ever. And that to me is like the ultimate compliment. I've never seen anybody play harder than this guy. And there's times in those film sessions, where I just, I can't believe it,” Nurse continued.
“There was one play where we were showing the other day, we went triangle-and-two in game five, and he ran out, and challenged a shot over on the left wing, it bounced and went, he was pressuring (Andre) Iguodala the passer, (Steph) Curry came off here, and he ran over and challenged it, and the ball bounced on the rim and went flying that way, and he was the one, he came skipping through about three guys and grabbed that rebound. I mean, I'm showing that to the team and telling them, can anybody else, what if we all start doing that, just a little bit?”
It’s the ultimate series of compliments a point guard can get from his head coach and Lowry fully deserves them all. This duo will be at the forefront of the Raptors’ title defence, but for now they’ve both earned some well-earned rest.
More Raptors coverage from Yahoo Sports