Lowry knows he must improve for Raptors to win

Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) chases down a loose ball during first half NBA playoff action against the Washington Wizards. (Frank Gunn/CP)

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry knows he must be better.

The all-star point guard struggled mightily in the Toronto Raptors’ 93-86 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday to open their best-of-seven opening playoff series. Lowry made just two-of-10 shots and finished with seven points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 2:36 remaining in regulation time.

"I’m very mad," Lowry said in a quiet Raptors locker-room afterwards. "I’m very upset but I’ve got to deal with it.

"At the end of the day, it’s one bad game and I got another one Tuesday."

The second game of the series goes Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.

Lowry missed seven-straight games down the stretch with back spasms before returning for the final four. He said his back and the late-season layoff were not factors in his poor performance Saturday, adding he simply missed shots and defensively put himself in bad positions that led to fouls.

"I just didn’t play well," said Lowry, who missed all four of his three-point attempts. "I was missing shots and got into foul trouble."

Lowry was particularly upset about being relegated to the bench for overtime.

"It sucks," he said."But that’s the situation I put myself in."

Toronto head coach Dwane Casey insists he’s not worried about Lowry.

"He’ll be OK," Casey said. "He had some good looks that he can make.

"Believe me, he’ll be ready next time to come around to make those shots. His timing was just a little off."

Teammate DeMar DeRozan thought Lowry came out "a bit over aggressive on both ends" of the court.

"I was just telling him to slow it down a little bit," DeRozan said. "But that’s him.

"One thing I know about him is that he’s going to bounce back even better Tuesday."

DeRozan had 15 points and 11 rebounds but also struggled in 43 minutes of playing time. He made just six-of-20 field-goal attempts and got to the free-throw line only five times.

"We missed a lot of easy shots as a team," he said. "We played great defence, we just got outrebounded, which is where we could’ve done a better job."

Washington had a 19-10 edge in offensive rebounds, something Toronto centre Jonas Valanciunas felt was the difference in the game.

"They were tougher than us," said Valanciunas, who had six points and eight rebounds. "We’ve got to show that we can battle them."

Casey said Toronto spent too much time standing around and watching Saturday, something that will have to change in order for the Raptors to win the series.

"It’s not just our big guys, it’s everybody," Casey said.

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