It was tied 106-106 when Lowry hit the biggest of his six 3-pointers. He dribbled right to left, created space a couple of steps behind the line and released it with confidence. The 20,393 in attendance erupted as it went in, and the Raptors wouldn't relinquish that lead. It was close, though; they needed Lowry to take Brooklyn's Deron Williams off the dribble and hit a floater in traffic with 27 seconds left.
"When we needed a big shot, No. 7 came through," Raptors big man Chuck Hayes said. "Kyle was unbelievable. There's no more you can say. He's doing it at the right time on the biggest stage."
Lowry was effective in particular against Williams, making the three-time All-Star look helpless. He scored 17 points while guarded by Williams, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor. Williams has the superior pedigree and the maximum contract, but that's meaningless on the court. The 6-foot bowling ball of a point guard has a payday of his own coming up soon.
"He's an All-Star to me," Toronto swingman Terrence Ross said. "There's not too many point guards doing what he's doing. Especially, he's a little shorter than most guys. Man, I can't even explain what he's meant to this team."
Heading to Barclays Center with the chance to advance to the second round for the first time since 2001, the Raptors will need to avoid the kind of lapses that allowed the Nets to make a run in the fourth quarter. They will also need more timely brilliance from Lowry. The players have come to expect that.
"If we need an answer, we call Kyle," Hayes said. "Kyle will figure it out."