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From scoring 31 points to making stellar pass to set up winner, Lowry did it all in Game 3


Toronto point guard took some friendly advice to heart and attacked the rim from the start


From scoring 31 points to making stellar pass to set up winner, Lowry did it all in Game 3
Toronto point guard took some friendly advice to heart and attacked the rim from the start


Sep 4, 2020 2:23 AM ET



Kyle Lowry's 31 points were the most he's scored in a postseason game since 2016.


Kyle Lowry didn't just deliver that 53-foot, on-target pass on OG Anunoby's game-winning basket in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday. Lowry got the Toronto Raptors to that moment, scoring a game-high 31 points on 13-for-23 shooting. And he did it by getting into the paint like he never has in his career.

The Raptors were searching for offense. The Celtics had slowed their transition game, and their half-court issues were evident. After scoring 123 points per 100 possessions in their first-round sweep of Brooklyn, the champs had scored just 95.5 through the first two games of this series.

Lowry was 1-for-12 from 3-point range, with 18 total points in the paint. Before Game 3, he got some advice from somebody whose name he wouldn't reveal.

"I got a text from a real close friend of mine," Lowry said, "and he kinda told me, 'Stop waiting.' And that was pretty much the game plan for me tonight, to stop waiting and be aggressive from the jump. He was correct."

> Game 4: Raptors vs. Celtics (Saturday at 6:30 ET on TNT OT)

Lowry didn't exactly catch fire from deep. He was 2-for-8 from 3-point range in Game 3, though one of the makes was a huge pull-up that gave the Raptors a 90-89 lead with 7:15 to go in the fourth quarter.

He wasn't counting on his jump shot, though. Lowry was attacking the basket from the very first possession of the night, when he used a Marc Gasol screen, turned the corner on Kemba Walker, slammed into Marcus Smart (whose feet were still in the restricted area) and pushed a shot over the arms of Daniel Theis. It fell in and Lowry converted the 3-point play.

Three possessions later, he took an outlet pass from Gasol and attacked Jayson Tatum in transition, drawing a goaltending violation on Theis. And three possessions after that, Lowry drove past a Tatum close-out and attacked Theis. He bumped the big man under the basket, got him in the air with a pump fake, drew contact, and tossed in a jump hook for another and-one.

"He started with a great burst," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "A great energy to get to the rim the whole night. I thought right from the tip when he turned the corner and got the foul, the and-one, he was ready to go. We didn't do a good job on him at times, but he's a really good player. Credit him more than anything else."

Lowry kept the Celtics guessing by not always using the screen, and he scored or assisted on 14 of the Raptors' first 16 points as they found a rhythm early on.