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Raptors drop final tune-up but Lowry looks to be in mid-season form

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“He knows everything we’re doing inside and out, he’s in great shape,” Nurse said before the game. “It’ll just be some rhythm and timing and nothing like getting on the basketball court and playing for real, right? Playing with your teammates and stuff like that. So he’ll be ready to go.”

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Sure enough, Lowry looked in mid-season form, even if the game itself had a decidedly pre-season feel to it.

While praising Lowry’s efforts, Nurse lamented he couldn’t do that for a lot of the rest of this roster.

“He obviously was really good, excited to play (and) being back. I wish a couple of guys had gone with him in that same kind of zeal and excitement but they didn’t,” Nurse said afterwards.

Dec 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the basket as Miami Heat forward Maurice Harkless (8)  defends during the second half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: IMAGN-443192
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry drives to the basket as Miami Heat forward Maurice Harkless defends during the second half at Amalie Arena. Photo by Kim Klement /USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t know, it’s just one of those things where we’ve got to manage the energy,” Nurse added. “One of those weird things. We’ve had two really long, hard practices in a row coming into this game that I’d consider excellent, awesome days of work and then come 7 o’clock the ball goes up and you don’t play with that same type of enthusiasm or juice or whatever. I don’t know, we didn’t play that well tonight, I’m not very happy with the defensive side of the ball for sure.”

Lowry was in no mood to be critical of any of his teammates, but he, too, sees this team’s path to success through its defence.

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“I think we should become a real-life defensive monster,” Lowry said. “That’s what I would like us to become. I don’t want us to be this offensive juggernaut. I want us to a defensive team where every single possession, every single night the team who is coming in knows that it’s going to be a slug-it-out game, and they’re going to get hit, they’re going to get beat up. They’re not gonna be roaming free. That’s one thing I would love for us to become.”

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