Did Kyle Lowry really attempt this absurdly dumb move with the game on the line?
On Monday night in Toronto, the Philadelphia 76ers were in control late in Game 2 of their second-round series with the Raptors. In a win they didn't desperately need but certainly wanted before heading back to Philly, Jimmy Butler rose to the occasion, scoring 30 points, the last two of which gave the Sixers a 90-84 lead with 1:42 remaining. Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry answered, hitting his second straight three to cut the lead to 90-87.
The Raptors then got the quick stop they needed, and power forward Pascal Siakam made a layup after grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds on the possession. Suddenly it was a one-point game, one that would surely yield "PHILLY COLLAPSED!" takes from everyone if they let one get away and fell in a 2-0 hole in the series.
But Joel Embiid responded with a dominant drive to the rim that looked basically impossible to defend, extending Philly's lead back to three at 92-89 with 24 seconds to go:
With the way Lowry had been shooting in the fourth, and with a sharpshooter on the wing in Danny Green, chances were better than most that the Raps would find a way to tie the game, especially with so much time remaining on the clock. With 20 seconds to go, Green dished the ball back near half court to Lowry, and what happened next was one of the all-time "what the HELL's going on out there?!?!!?" sequences you'll ever see:
Did Lowry, as play-by-play man Ian Eagle suggested, seriously try to attempt to dribble the ball through Tobias Harris' legs with a playoff game on the line? In real time, it certainly looked that way, which might be one of the dumbest decisions ever made by a point guard. Here's a closer look courtesy of Rob Perez, who is always on top of all things NBA:
Everyone immediately jumping to conclusions on Twitter is one of the worst parts about that platform, but in this case, it was absolutely warranted. Anyone who watched immediately tweeted some form of "what the hell is Lowry doing?" and upon third, fourth and fifth viewing, it's still hard to tell. Did the ball slip or did he actually attempt to dribble through another professional basketball player's legs with a massive game hanging in the balance?
Unfortunately, no one pressed Lowry on the matter afterwards, so he wasn't able to confirm or deny if he went full NBA Street Volume 2 on Harris. Perhaps if the move had resulted in a turnover, it would be a bigger deal. But to be fair to Lowry, he recovered nicely, and the Raptors still got as clean of a look as possible for Green, who should've been able to knock that shot down.
Here's the thing: Lowry has done this before.... just last month:
Little different circumstances of course, with the Raptors playing the lowly Bulls in the regular season, not to mention this was a pass and not Lowry dribbling to himself. But pulling it off would obviously give him the confidence to try it again, but Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semis with 20 seconds to go and down by three points might not have been the best time.