It happened, whether you like it or not. The long-awaited Kyle Lowry injury return finally occurred on December 3 after the Toronto Raptors were forced to play 11 games without their longtime point guard this season. However, a crushing 121-110 overtime loss to the Miami Heat has fans giving Lowry’s return mixed reviews at best.
In fact, many seem to be wondering if the team would have been better off using the likes of Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.
Both VanVleet and Siakam have hugely helped minimize the impact of Lowry’s absence, spurring the Raptors to go 9-2 without him.
The duo won over fans and breathed further life into a team that some had previously assumed relied on star power.
However, that view changed when Serge Ibaka and Lowry were taken out during the same game, and Toronto proceeded to dominate without them.
And, in a twist that would have been barely believable not long ago, the return of Lowry combined with the first home defeat of the season had some fans arguing the Raptors veteran actually hurt the team’s chances of winning.
“My fears prior to the game were realized! Lowry’s return (a.k.a the prince) has disrupted the team. Worst game since their injury. This silly backcourt that the Nurse is playing should end. Give VanVleet the chance he deserves,” wrote one disgruntled fan.
Others, though, argued that Lowry is likely simply out of shape after his extended absence.
“Rust was to be expected. I don't hold Lowry accountable for this one despite the 2-for-18 performance. It's good to have him back,” added a more forgiving fan.
And that was just the tip of the iceberg:
Highlights of Kyle Lowry’s return vs the Miami Heat. #WeTheNorth https://t.co/YpoCN6lhGc— Tim Macdonell (@Tim Macdonell) 1575430980.0
Unpopular opinion (not based on last nights' loss): #Raps should trade #Lowry and get some young players in return… https://t.co/CPLzXt0hr0— MrSeventy8 (@MrSeventy8) 1575469096.0
rust was to be expected...i don't hold Lowry accountable for this one despite the 2-for-18 performance...it's good… https://t.co/gfgTeahANU— Life In Repeat (@Life In Repeat) 1575430057.0
Anyone think maybe #Lowry came back too early for the Raptors? 2-for-18 in FG and a laughable 0-for-11 from beyond… https://t.co/Gxhe4556W4— Todd Witteles (@Todd Witteles) 1575434103.0
I DON'T WANNA HEAR NOOO1 SAY IT'S CUS OF #LOWRY THERE R A NUMBER OF THINGS GOING WRONG PASCAL PLAYING TIMID NURSE R… https://t.co/VmxUvPWRyE— SassyB (@SassyB) 1575427577.0
Lowry lost the raptors this game. He’s won games for them, but he absolutely lost them this game. #WeTheNorth #lowry— Andrew. (@Andrew.) 1575427489.0
Lowry later spoke to reporters about his performance during a post-game interview.
“I haven’t done basketball-type playing since New Orleans, so it takes a game, but I’m sure I’ll be better next game, and it’s nothing to be concerned or worried about,” he said.
Lowry is currently averaging 21.8 points and 6.5 assists this season. He was taken out of commission on November 8, 2019, due to a fractured thumb.
Whatever they thought of his display on Tuesday night, Raptors fans will surely be hoping he can pull himself together after this shaky return.
The Raptors next play the Houston Rockets at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday.