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Kyle Lowry walks back to locker room during game to “decompress,” faces crititicsm

After a first half where the Raptors had hung close with the Cavaliers, things were starting to unravel a little. You could feel Cleveland was starting to take control of Game 2, more than that as they got hot there was nothing Toronto could do about it.

With 2:35 left in the first half, the ice-cold Kyle Lowry subbed out of the game — then went on walkabout back to the locker room.

It ended up being during one of the most critical stretches of the game, and Lowry just walked off — not injured, not followed by training staff, just by himself. Lowry was criticized on the ESPN broadcast for it, while the NBA Twitter reaction ranged from confused to ripping him (online this, combined with former Lowry mentor Tyronn Lue saying Lowry wanted to get together with him Wednesday to watch the Thunder/ Warriors game, led to a lot of questioning of Lowry’s priorities and toughness).

After the game Lowry was asked about his walk.

“Just to kind of decompress, get back there, kind of relax my body and relax my mind,” Lowry said. “And knowing that we had a chance to kind of make some things (happen). I wanted to get myself going and get my teammates going and get the team going. It was nothing more than just kind of to decompress, breathe and get back out....

“I’ve done it plenty of times. It’s just now with the magnitude of the situation, it shows a little bit more.”

It was an odd thing to do at an odd time. Clearly Lowry was frustrated — he was 1-of-8 from three in Game 2, and he has 18 points on 8-for-28 shooting through two games against the Cavaliers — but leaving the court to gather oneself at a critical juncture of the game doesn’t seem the most supporting thing a teammate can do.

Toronto isn’t going to win a game in this series without All-Star level Lowry playing, and so far that guy has been missing.