The playmaker is their veteran boss, the guy who means so much more to them than statistics would ever show. Defeating understaffed Brooklyn without him was easy. Missing out on the Celtics if he’s sidelined wouldn’t be.
But it would be foolish to count the Raptors. Losing Kawhi Leonard last summer didn’t destroy them and playing without Lowry either.
“You have to show up with who is healthy and available and you have to think there’s a good chance you can find a way to win,” said coach Nick Nurse. “And that’s what we’ll do anyway.”
That’s what the Raptors have been doing all season. Not only did they lose the NBA Finals MVP when Leonard left, but each of their top five scorers went on to miss at least 10 games with injury.
So we’re used to relying on their reserves, and when Lowry injured his foot in the first quarter on Sunday and Fred VanVleet picked up three faults in the first half, they took over in a record fashion. The Toronto bench scored 100 points, most in any game since the official starters began to be called in 1970-71, and ended a Nets sweep with a 150-122 victory.
The Celtics also swept their first-round streak, so the start of the Eastern semi-finals was postponed until Thursday. This gives Lowry a few days to get ready and the nurse has said so if it doesn’t it won’t be due to a minor injury.
“I mean, he played with I don’t know how many, 14 or 16 straight playoff games last year with a totally messed up left thumb when we were in the final last year, so it’s going to take something ‘serious enough to keep. him, Nurse said.
The Raptors are 11-1 since the NBA restarted, with the only loss to the Celtics. Boston also won in Toronto over Christmas, with the Raptors avenging that loss on the road three days later.
Now the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds find themselves in the playoffs, with the Raptors hoping Lowry will be ready for a clash with Kemba Walker.
“I think it’s going to be a fun series and I’m a little disappointed that we don’t have fans, that intensity at TD Garden and that our fans bring to Scotiabank,” said Raptors reserve Norman Powell.
“I think that’s an extra piece that’s going to be missing, but we have two teams that are very deep, very talented and it’s going to take everyone on our side to pull this one out and go there and do what we have to. make. “