For the third time this season, the Raptors have a six-game winning streak. But it almost didn't happen after falling behind the Grizzlies by 17 points in the third quarter on Tuesday night. Led by Kyle Lowry's game-high 24 points and six dimes, as well as shooting 10-of-17 from beyond the arc in the second half, Toronto solidified their top spot in the East with a 122-114 comeback win over a suddenly struggling Grizzlies team. But in a post-game interview on the court, after politely asking about language protocol, Lowry—who was selected in the 2006 draft by Memphis—blamed "bitching" for falling behind so badly to start the game.
When asked what led to the second half turnaround, he came back with his own question: "Can I say a curse word on here?" he asked TSN 1050. "We stopped bitching. That's what we stopped doing. We started to play basketball. And we just kept continuing to fight. We understand what [the Grizzlies] are trying to do down [in Memphis], and honestly we stopped—you guys know what I'm talking about. That's what we stopped doing."
Lowry went on to talk about how the Raptors mixed in some zone defense in the second half, and he gave some props to first-year head coach Nick Nurse for that halftime adjustment. But it was his message about whining to officials that really seemed to be the theme of the win.
Looking at the box score, the Raptors got more calls in the second half. They went to the free throw line for 18 shots in the second half versus just 10 in the first. Whether this is related to the "bitching," remains unclear, but Lowry is no stranger to arguing with officials over a call.
Personally, we think his "bitching" comments were aimed at himself. You can tell what a high standard he holds himself to in a recent feature Michael Lee wrote about him for The Athletic.
If the Raptors avoid griping to the refs, they're in the driver's seat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference a quarter of the way into the 2017-18 season.