Kyle Lowry is the Best Player in Clutch During Playoffs

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2021 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Raptors 102-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Kyle Lowry is the best player in clutch during the NBA playoffs. At first glance, it will be hard to accept. Many people believe the title of ‘Best Player in Clutch’ belongs to players such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, or even Damian Lillard. However, that’s false, and I’m here to prove that wrong. It’s insane how Kyle Lowry has received no recognition for such an incredible feat.

The narrative that Kyle Lowry is a poor playoff performer is completely wrong. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kyle Lowry possesses the ability to make clutch shots when the game is on the line. Not every player has the talent to do that, as some players crumble under pressure while players like Lowry thrive in it.

While reading this article, keep in mind that stats don’t lie. Stats reflect what takes place on the court. With that being said, I will now show Kyle Lowry’s unrecognized success as the most clutch player in the playoffs.

Kyle Lowry Playoff History

Oct 17, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (3) shoots a free throw against the Washington Wizards at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Wizards 104-101. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Lowry made his first playoff appearance with the Rockets in 2008-09. He made his first playoff appearance as a starter in the 2013-14 playoffs. It was also his first playoffs appearance as a Toronto Raptor. Previously, Lowry played 13 games in the playoffs with the Houston Rockets.

In those 13 games with the Rockets, Kyle Lowry came off the bench. He played an average of 19.5 minutes a game. In Toronto, not only did he start games for the Raptors, but he played an average of 38.7 minutes per game. To put things into perspective, that’s almost double the minutes he played in Houston.

As a Houston Rocket, Lowry averaged 5.3 points in a span of 13 games during the playoffs. In his first playoff series as a Toronto Raptor, Lowry had a stat-line of 21.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 7 games.

Now let’s look at how Kyle Lowry compares to the most clutch performers in the last 5 minutes of a playoff game, where the point differential is 5 points or less starting from the 2013-14 playoffs.

Playoff Clutch Stats: Last 5 Minutes

FGM/FGA in the last 5 minutes of a playoff game, where point differential is 5 points or less.

The chart represents how many shots a player made and attempted starting from the last 5 minutes of a game, where the point differential of the game is separated by 5 points or less. Kyle Lowry’s shooting efficiency is ranked at the top of the list against NBA’s best playoff performers.

To take it a step further, I went ahead and analyzed how Lowry did in the last 2 minutes of a playoff game. The results were incredible.

Playoff Clutch Stats: Last 2 Minutes

In the last 2 minutes, Kyle Lowry’s efficiency is ranked the highest, with a wide margin. After Lowry’s 65.5% field goal percentage, the next player on the list is the two-time finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, with a field goal percentage of 36.9%. Lowry also made more shots than Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and James Harden while attempting around 13-23 fewer shots.

Breakdown of 2015-16 Playoffs

In 2015-16, during the last 5 minutes of a playoff game where the point differential is 5 points or less, Kyle Lowry shot 11-24. That’s an approximate field goal percentage of 45.8%.

Kyle Lowry was at his very best for being clutch during the 2015-16 playoffs, as he hit a career-high 11 clutch shots. He was also a crucial part of the Toronto Raptors playoff run before getting eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lowry was also extremely clutch in the 2015-16 playoffs when there was a 5 point differential or less in a game with 1 minute remaining. Lowry shot an outstanding 7-11, a field goal percentage of 63.6%, which is incredibly high.

FGA for Ahead or Behind 5 Point Diff or Less Last 5 Minutes, Kyle Lowry during the 2015-16 Playoffs
FGA for Ahead or Behind 5 Point Diff or Less Last 1 Minute, Kyle Lowry during the 2015-16 Playoffs

Lowry’s Clutch Shot against the Heat

Lowry’s most notable moment from the 2015-16 playoffs would be the game 1 buzzer-beater against the Miami Heat. A clutch 3 from half-court forced the game into overtime.

Although the Raptors ended up losing this game in OT, they would go on to win the series in 7 games.

Lowry’s Clutch Shot against the Celtics

Lowry’s most recent clutch shot would be his fadeaway jumper in game 6 of the 2019-20 semifinals. The game was in the late stages of double OT, and the Toronto Raptors were facing elimination. Fred Vanvleet passed the ball to Lowry, and he called iso on Kemba Walker. Lowry sealed the deal with the game-winning shot.

Therefore, starting from the 2013-14 playoffs, Kyle Lowry is the best player in clutch during the NBA Playoffs.

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