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Raptors guard Kyle Lowry explains the ‘Kawhi effect’

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors, Kyle Lowry

The “Kawhi effect” is something the Toronto Raptors have experienced for most of this season, a gravitational pull which they had not seen with former shooting guard DeMar DeRozan in past seasons. Point guard Kyle Lowry has reaped the benefits of having a player of Leonard’s caliber in the lineup, as it was his shot-making that gave the Raptors a Game 3 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime.

“Kawhi is going to get attention all the time, no matter what,” Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry told ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. “It’s the Kawhi effect.”

However, that privilege was used differently in Game 4, as Lowry and company made use of the attention devoted to Leonard to get other cogs involved, resulting in their most productive bench effort of the postseason, despite head coach Nick Nurse deploying only eight men for most of the game.

“He’s going to carry us some games — he’s a superstar,” Lowry said. “But then you have nights like tonight when he just let everyone else do their thing and he doesn’t have to carry as much. In the first quarter, he didn’t touch the ball all that much. But we attacked and moved the ball off the attention he attracted.”

The Raptors have found the right balance between riding the Kawhi effect and making intelligent use of it to spark better offensive nights from the rest of the starters and the bench unit.

With the series tied 2-2, the Raptors will look to capitalize on this momentum, hoping to steal one on the road to put the Bucks on the brink of elimination.