Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan might be the most underrated backcourt in the NBA.
Don’t think so? Well, that duo was the second-highest scoring backcourt in the league last season, trailing only Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
“This year’s been a little bit different because DeMar was out for 21 games and Kyle really had to carry the load,” Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He carried it so much that he ended up at the All-Star game. He was spectacular. Down the stretch, Kyle was a little bit banged up with back spasms, so they haven’t played a ton together as of late.”
DeRozan averaged 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 60 games this season, while Lowry averaged 17.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 70 games.
“When both of them are right – and we certainly saw that in their last regular season game – things can really click,” Devlin said. “Part of that is Kyle’s ability to shoot the three.”
Lowry hit six three-pointers in Toronto’s regular-season finale Wednesday, a 92-87 home win over Charlotte.
“I think that’s important because he had struggled shooting from three in the three games prior,” Devlin said. “And what that does, that opens things up for DeMar. And DeMar, as you well know, he gets in that mid-range game, fadeaway, short corner, 15 feet away – (he) can knock it down.”
DeRozan, who scored 16 against Charlotte, also gets to the foul line nearly eight times per game.
“The combination of what they’re able to do, the ability of both of them to get to the rim, certainly is one of the reasons why the Raptors won a franchise record 49 this year,” Devlin said.
Now they’re hoping to keep it going. No. 4 Toronto (49-33) hosts No. 5 Washington (46-36) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, marking the first game of the 2014-15 postseason.
The Raptors won seven of their final 10 games, led the Eastern Conference in scoring – averaging more than 103 points per game – and made nearly nine three-pointers per game. Lou Williams had a lot to do with Toronto’s offensive efficiency. He led the NBA in bench points, averaging a career-high 15.5 points per game.
“He was certainly a dynamic presence coming off of the bench,” Devlin said. “And then when you mix in the three of them on the floor together (with Lowry and DeRozan), then all of a sudden you really have to choose which direction you want to go as far as defending them. That’s one of the reasons why they were such a high-scoring team.”
Washington, meanwhile, is led by John Wall, who averaged 17.6 points and 10.0 assists, Bradley Beal (15.3 points), Marcin Gortat (12.2 points) and Paul Pierce (11.9 points). The Wizards were 29-12 at home this season but just 17-24 on the road, which could be the difference in a seven-game series.