This article first ran on SportingNews.com on November 7, 2017, and can be found here.
Kyle Lowry was tossed from Toronto’s game against the Wizards on Sunday after receiving two quick technical fouls in the second quarter.
After missing a shot, he ran back on defense while arguing with an official. The discussion quickly escalated, and the point guard found himself headed to the locker rooms having scored just two points in the Raptors 107-96 loss.
Yet on Monday, Lowry wouldn’t elaborate on what he said to the official that caused his ejection. He didn’t want to talk about it.
“It’s not worth my time to talk about that,” Lowry said. "I’m not even trying to be sarcastic, I don’t even want to get it. It’s not worth my time.”
Head coach Dwane Casey said after the game that he didn’t know exactly what Lowry said to the official, but that he didn’t think it warranted the ejection.
Losing his point guard, he said, did have a huge impact on how the Raptors finished the game.
“I thought it was unfortunate because people have said worse than that,” Casey said. “They’ve said far worse than what he said to the official. First of all, if you’re a young official, walk away. You don’t debate with a player in that situation. … It was unfortunate because Kyle is our engine, he’s our leader. We need him. We all have to understand the situation, the moment, we all are frustrated, and keep our head."
Lowry has struggled at times so far this year. The point guard has averaged just 11.9 points per game, far fewer than the 22.4 points per contest that he averaged last year. While Tornoto is just nine games into the season, Lowry isn't being depended on as much in the offense as he has in the past.
That, he said, has hurt not only his individual game so far this season but also the team's success. He just hasn't found his rhythm yet, which is something the Raptors will need to be successful.
“I think the way we’re moving the ball, the ball’s not in my hands as much,” Lowry said. “They want me to just try to get everyone involved and for me, I’ve been used to having the ball in my hands. I always pass the ball but more so I don’t have the ball. I can’t read the defense as much as I usually could before.
“Last couple years coach would give me the game for the first five, six, seven minutes. I could feel out the game and get passes off and get everyone involved, and now it’s like everyone has to be involved from the jump. For me it’s getting off the ball, moving and cutting and sometimes it just hasn’t been there for me yet.”
But Casey stands by both Lowry's and DeMar DeRozan's early season struggles. They have changed their offense from last season, and it's been just as big of an adjustment for his two star players as it has the young guys on the roster.
"To he and DeMar's defense, we're doing things totally different, we're trying to," Casey said. "We get stuck in trying to fight back and claw back, guys go back to their natural habits, but it's not as much pick and roll with him in set plays. We're coming down in flow, coming down in drags or whatever. So again, in fairness, it's different than what Kyle and DeMar are used to. That has hurt their rhythm. But again, I say it’s such a small sample size and as time goes on, they’ll get used to it."
The Raptors will get a chance to get back on track and have their offense flowing on Tuesday night when they host the struggling Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls, who opened their season with a 117-100 loss to Toronto, are just 2-7 on the season, and should provide Toronto with a chance to work out some of the kinks in its new offense.
After all, Casey said, the change won't happen overnight. It takes time, and he isn't going to panic yet.
"I appreciate their patience," he added. "They're working with it, they're trying. But it has taken them out of their comfort level where they've been productive. We're going to stick with it because in the long run, and I know it's hard to see now and it's not equating to wins, but in the long run it's going to help them."