Before the playoffs began, Kyle Lowry declared that the only way he could silence his critics was by winning a championship.
So, as he walked through the bowels of Oracle Arena late Thursday night fully decked out in championship paraphernalia following his Toronto Raptors title-clinching 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Lowry was asked:
Will his critics be quiet now?
“No,” Lowry told ESPN with a laugh, after finishing with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals. “I hope — I don’t care what they say.
“I appreciate the moment that I’m in. I’m happy I’m able to celebrate this moment with my teammates and with my family. The critics will have something else to say, which is fine. But I’m a champion.”
Lowry, the lone foundational piece remaining from the beginning of this stretch of Raptors franchise history dating back several years now, has been battered around plenty by those critics for inconsistent play in the postseason. But from the opening tip Thursday night, Lowry seemed determined to write a new, final chapter to his career.
In Game 5, he missed an open 3-pointer on one side of the court with a little more than two minutes remaining before having his potential game-winning triple blocked on the other side by Draymond Green at the buzzer. Still, he came out firing in Game 6, scoring the first 11 points of the game en route to scoring 15 points in the first quarter and 21 in the first half.
“I think the thing about this whole thing is, when I come out and play aggressive, we win, and we play hard and play better,” Lowry told ESPN. “That was the biggest thing, was coming out and being aggressive and not settling. Not letting them get going and knowing they were going to come out and be super aggressive and the crowd would be into it, and they were going to be tough to beat in this building on a night like this, the last night at Oracle.
“We knew it was going to be tough. But for me coming out and being aggressive, it allowed us to set the tone.