By most accounts, the Miami Heat completed a successful season in 2021-22 but Kyle Lowry wasn’t having any of it after his team was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
Lowry was battling through a hamstring injury throughout the playoffs, which limited his availability, and aside from a stellar Game 6 where he recorded 18 points and 10 rebounds, the six-time All-Star played below his standards during the conference finals and the playoffs in general. The 35-year-old averaged just 7.8 points and 4.7 assists during his 10 postseason games, shooting 29 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range.
Asked about the pursuit of winning championships, Lowry provided a candid assessment of his and the Heat’s season during his postgame media availability.
“I wish I would have been able to play a little bit better, at a higher level, but I didn’t,” Lowry said.
“It just adds fuel. You don’t know how many more opportunities you will have to get back to this, so for me, honestly it was a waste of a year. I only play to win championships. It was fun, and I appreciate my teammates, and I appreciate the opportunity. But for me, it’s a waste of a year. You’re not winning a championship, it’s a wasted year.”
"Honestly, it was a waste of a year."
Kyle Lowry speaks on the Heat falling short in Game 7 👀 pic.twitter.com/30a9MRSHgn
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 30, 2022
Lowry’s struggles continued into Game 7, as he posted 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting, along with seven rebounds and three assists as the Heat, aside from Jimmy Butler, were stonewalled by the Celtics’ top-ranked defense.
The internet is often unforgiving and many were quick to pin the blame for the Heat's dismissal on Lowry, fairly or not.
Kyle Lowry is singlehandedly losing Miami a G7… this is insane stuff
— Shohei Ohtani Stan Account (@AndyKHLiu) May 30, 2022
Kyle Lowry is literally just Raymond Felton with Drakes phone number
— ْ (@PeakNBA) May 26, 2022
Being a magic fan is tough, but at least we’re not paying Kyle Lowry 85 million
— Magic Fan (@OrlandoTragic_) May 30, 2022
Kyle Lowry, one of the worst playoff performers ever, is living up to his reputation
— Mike Ryan (Ruiz) 🙌🏽 (@MichaelRyanRuiz) May 30, 2022
Can we all agree that Kyle Lowry plays the worst brand of basketball on the planet?
— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) May 30, 2022
There’s always next year and Lowry will forever be remembered as a champion thanks to his ring with the 2019 Toronto Raptors, but winning isn’t guaranteed in the NBA and the Heat will definitely be ruing a missed opportunity to win their first title since the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade era.
More from Yahoo Sports