He misses DeMar, but Kyle Lowry could have a standout season with Kawhi Leonard by his side

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard made his debut with the Raptors last night, and even though it wasn’t the most efficient performance The Claw has ever put forth, his presence definitely helped out his now-afterthought backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry.

Lowry, who was seen dapping up the air in honor of his former teammate DeMar DeRozan pregame, benefitted from the extra attention on Leonard.

He scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three in the Raptors’ 116-104 win over the Cavs. Kawhi scored 22 on 9-of-24 shooting and 1-for-3 from downtown.

Though he definitely misses his friend and longtime teammate, Lowry will be livin’ easy with Kawhi on his side now. He probably won’t have as many classic, sitcom-like press conferences, but he’ll see plenty of open looks.

DeRozan definitely had his moments of greatness with the Raptors, but he’s not the offensive threat Kawhi is, and his struggles at times–especially in the playoffs– certainly affected Lowry as well. Whether it was the pressure of having to do more, or the extra attention defenses were able to give Lowry when his buddy wasn’t making shots, there’s no doubt that when one was off, the other had a hard time, too.

DeRozan figures to get better under the tutlege of Popovich, and he scored 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting in his debut with the Spurs on Wednesday, but Toronto is clearly in a better position to contend with Leonard in the backcourt (for however long that lasts).

It’s only one game, but it was a memorable one for Lowry, and the type of performance he hopes to put up all season long.

Also see:

Why the Toronto Raptors made a huge mistake in trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard

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