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Lewenberg: Long-overdue recognition for Lowry

Josh Lewenberg
2/3/2014 5:34:09 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY - Just four days after becoming one of the most disputed all-star omissions, Kyle Lowry received his consolation prize from the NBA.

The Raptors' point guard has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 27, through Sunday, Feb. 2, the league announced ahead of Toronto's meeting with the Jazz on Monday.

Lowry led off the week topping 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career - including a season-high 33 points in Wednesday's win over the Magic - carrying his team to a pair of victories without injured leading scorer DeMar DeRozan. Overall, the eighth-year guard averaged 25.0 points and 8.0 assists as Toronto finished the week with a 3-1 record.

For Lowry, the recognition is long overdue.

"He is one of the best point guards in the league right now," Dwane Casey said in Denver Thursday evening, hours after the all-star reserves were announced and Lowry, despite his body of work this season, was left off the list.

DeRozan, a first-time all-star, was voted in by the coaches and will deservedly represent the Raptors in New Orleans later this month but Lowry's case should have been just as, if not more, compelling.

Since the early-December trade of Rudy Gay, Lowry has come out of his shell, emerging as the team's leader. He's been the Raptors' most reliable contributor and a big part of the post-trade resurgence. Toronto has won 19 of 29 games since moving Gay, recording 20 or more assists in 23 of those contests.

"Me personally, I thought he should have made [the All-Star team]," DeRozan said Thursday. "Especially [with] what he means to this team. There are not too many players that are doing the things he is doing."

Lowry, sincerely happy for his teammate, shrugged off the coaches' oversight, concerning himself with team success over individual accolades. Similarly, he downplayed a couple nominations for earlier Player of the Week awards and will likely do the same after winning one, but after putting the team on his shoulders this past week, the honour comes well deserved.

With DeRozan sidelined for the first time this season, nursing an ankle injury, Lowry engineered a thrilling victory over the surging Nets in Brooklyn to begin the week. In that game, Lowry become the first player this season to record at least 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals, something only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant accomplished last year.

The 27-year-old is also having a career year from beyond the arch, connecting on 16 of his 36 attempts from three-point range last week. Lowry goes into Monday's game in Utah needing nine more threes to match his career-high for treys in a season (129). He'll also chase down Morris Peterson's franchise record for most three-pointers made in a single campaign (177).

Lowry became the fifth Raptor to win Player of the Week, joining Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Mike James and Jalen Rose. Also left off the All-Star squad, Suns guard Goran Dragic - Lowry's former teammate in Houston - captured the award in the West.

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