Approximately 10 billion things have happened in the world of basketball since this past NBA Finals, but up until their 2019-20 season comes to an end, the Toronto Raptors will serve as the reigning, defending, undisputed NBA champions. Toronto took down the Golden State Warriors in six games last summer, giving the Raptors their first Larry O’Brien trophy in franchise history.
While Kawhi Leonard, who has since joined the Los Angeles Clippers, was named NBA Finals MVP, Toronto may not have won the crucial Game 6 without an absolutely stellar performance by Kyle Lowry. He started the game scorching hot en route to a 26 point, 10 assist, seven rebound, three steal evening in the biggest game of his life.
On the most recent episode of the Lighthearted Podcast with Josh Hart, Lowry discussed the outpouring of support that he received after the final buzzer sounded and he became a champion for the first time in his career. At one point, he touched on the advice he got during the series from then-Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, who was sending him pointers on what to do while going up against the Dubs.
“I remember CP hittin’ me, like, ‘Yo, you gotta do this,’” Lowry said. “Like, before the … during the series. I’m like, ‘Alright, I got you, bro.”
It’s extremely cool that a bunch of guys league-wide were really happy for Lowry, someone who has put in a whole lot of time and effort with an eye on a ring and finally ascended to the mountaintop. But it’s also delightful that Paul, of all people, was this invested in Lowry beating Golden State. During his two-year stint in Houston, the Rockets were viewed as the team best positioned to knock the Warriors off in the Western Conference and win a championship, in part because they went out and acquired Paul from the Clippers.
That, of course, did not happen. A hamstring injury in 2018 cost Paul and, eventually, the Rockets from a golden opportunity to beat their rivals in the Western Conference Finals, and in 2019, the team was unable to take advantage of Kevin Durant going down with an injury when the series was tied, 2-2. While he was unable to knock Golden State from its perch, Paul was apparently more than happy to make sure someone else was able to accomplish this, and we can only assume he watched Lowry and co. do it with a smile on his face.