So elegant in a no-tie suit, high-flying watch and lengthy loop, Kyle Lowry met the media in Toronto late Sunday afternoon, shortly before his new team, the Miami Heat, face the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.
A key figure in the history of the Raptors, and an essential part of the club’s journey to the top, Laurie returns to Toronto for the first time since the trade he took part in last August.
“It’s special. I’m going home,” Laurie, the star of each six-team squad, said during his nine seasons with the Raptors. It’s a special day for the city, Canada, and the Raptors organization.”
“On Gardiner Highway, seeing the CN Tower, BMO Field and all that, it was crazy to think I spent so much time here. It’s really cool.”
“There are a lot of things I miss about this city. It will always be my home.”
Regarding the ceremony at which he will be honored, the 36-year-old said he will try to stay in the moment as much as possible.
“I want to be able to live in the moment,” said the man, who grew up with Carter and Cameron in Toronto.
“At the same time, there’s a game to try to win, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.
“Having said that, I’m sure the tribute video is going to be insane. I’m glad there’s one about me. I don’t have expectations of what’s going to be there.”
In Sunday’s match, Fred van Vliet, for whom Lowry served as his mentor, could break a record for the latter.
With 236 three-pointers, VanVleet is three shots away from toppling Lowry’s Raptors record in one season.
“It became a cornerstone,” Lowry said. I really believed he would be able to. It really shows his work ethic. »
Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were leading figures in the great growth of birds of prey. The team ended up winning the NBA Championship in 2019, including Laurie and Kohi Leonard.
“We played hard and with the mentality that all that matters is winning,” Lowry said. It has laid the foundation for the organization to further develop.
“You’ve achieved great victories here. You’ve set records, contributed to this champions banner. I’ve been a part of that progress and it feels great.”
Pascal Siakam, the Raptors’ top scorer this season, was also among such a core group that could replace her even more, with this turnaround in Lowry’s career.
The veteran said: “I already warned you (that Sicam will have the same amount of brilliance). There may have been a season when he was uncomfortable, but now he is really thriving. It shows how hard he has worked. I am proud of him.”
Laurie is still playing at a very high level. Fourth in scoring for his team (13.3) assists (7.6), tied in 25 offensive errors this season. In the NBA, he was only defeated in this class by 26th Blake Griffin, of the Nets.
“I will always be myself,” said Laurie, a role model in fighting spirit. Be strong and try to help my team win. »
The Heat (50-28), who are at the top of the East, will be looking for a fourth straight win on Sunday.
Miami will play without main points guard Jimmy Butler, who is out on the left toe.
Dewayne Dedmon (right ankle), PJ Tucker (left knee) and Gabe Vincent (right toe) will also be missing.
Chris Quinn will lead the Heat. Eric Spoelstra is being sidelined by the NBA’s pandemic protocols.
The Raptors (45-32) are fifth in the East.
Malachi Flynn will be available after missing 14 games. He was wounded in the back of his left thigh.
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