Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters Friday that Kyle Lowry didn’t quit on his team when the two-time All-Star point guard went back to the locker room briefly to “decompress” and use the bathroom late in the first half of Toronto’s 108-89 Game 2 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.
“Kyle did not walk out on his team,” Casey said. “He and Cory Joseph use the bathroom more than any two human beings I know during the game. … I don’t think he quit on his team.”
Lowry faced criticism after he left the bench with 2½ minutes remaining in the second quarter “just to kind of decompress.” At the time, he was 0-for-4 from 3-point range and had committed five turnovers. Cleveland closed the first half on a 16-2 run to take a 14-point halftime lead.
“It’s whatever. I think it’s an overreaction, personally. I’ve done it countless times,” Lowry reiterated. “Maybe I went to go to the bathroom. I’ve done it before, going to the bathroom. It’s just the magnitude of the situation, which makes it a lot bigger than what it really it is.
“So next time I’ll clarify, ‘Hey, I’m going to the bathroom,’ or ‘Hey, I’m doing this.’ I’ll make sure I’m clear on it so everyone knows.”
Through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, Lowry is averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.5 turnovers while shooting 28.6 percent from the field and 1-for-15 from 3-point territory.
The Raptors lost Games 1 and 2 by a combined 50 points. Game 3 is Saturday in Toronto.
Casey said center Jonas Valanciunas, who has been out since spraining his right ankle in Game 3 of the team’s second-round series with Miami, is doubtful to return Saturday.
“I don’t foresee [Valanciunas playing] tomorrow night, and after that we’ll just have to wait and see,” Casey said.