Toronto Raptors: What if Kyle Lowry’s championship-winning shot had gone in?

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

How different is Lowry’s legacy?

Lowry’s Raptor legacy was already cemented years ago, with the championship becoming the icing on top of his “greatest Raptor ever” cake. The title-winning shot would’ve added just one more moment to that legacy, albeit the greatest and most memorable one of them all.

On the other hand, the shot would’ve taken away Lowry’s stunning personal 11-2 run to begin Game 6, which he finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals in 42 minutes. It was possibly the signature performance of Lowry’s career. It wasn’t as dominant as his Game 7 performance vs. Miami in 2016, but it was another elite performance in a much higher-stakes game.

The shot would’ve been better, but in a Toronto career filled with awesome moments, it wouldn’t have changed a whole lot about how Lowry is remembered by Raptors fans. From an NBA history standpoint, this discussion is more interesting.

Lowry’s shot would’ve been the first game-winning buzzer-beater ever to clinch a championship. The closest was Michael Jordan’s go-ahead jumper in Utah to win the 1998 title, but even that shot left 5.2 seconds on the clock.

Lowry’s three would’ve left exactly zero, and the Raptors trailed by two at the time, making it absolutely necessary (as opposed to a tie game, when they’d go to overtime in a worst-case scenario). It would’ve been such a unique and spectacular accomplishment for a player who’s always been an easy target for fans to rag on.

It seems like most NBA fans and media have finally relented on the narrative that Lowry chokes or even regresses in the playoffs. But a shot like that on the world’s biggest stage – with no help from Leonard – would’ve unquestionably been Lowry’s greatest basketball moment.