Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry made his return to Toronto for the first time this season on Sunday and helped lead the Miami Heat to a comeback win over the Raptors.
After the game, Lowry expressed his immense appreciation for the city he spent nine seasons playing for.
"You guys witnessed one of the greatest sets of fans in the world, and this is a place I'll always call home," Lowry told ESPN. "I played for the organization nine years. A lot of blood, sweat and tears in here. I'm just appreciative of the moment."
Lowry was sent to Miami this past offseason via a sign-and-trade. He was once the face of the Raptors franchise, helping lead the team to its first title in franchise history in 2019.
Toronto honored Lowry with an extensive ovation during pregame introductions.
"It meant the world to me for the fans to show their appreciation, give me an ovation like that. ... It was one of those things where, the first time is always special, and you don't forget that," Lowry told reporters. "I think that the organization, they showed how classy they are, and they showed me that everything I did here meant the world to them just like vice-versa."
The Heat had trailed by 10 points at halftime before mounting their comeback. Miami scored 34 points in the third quarter and 35 in the fourth to run away from Toronto. Max Strus led Miami with 23 points, and Victor Oladipo added 21 points, while Lowry finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
It was a shorthanded roster for the Heat on Sunday as Jimmy Butler (toe), Dewayne Dedmon (ankle), Gabe Vincent (toe) and P.J. Tucker (knee) all sat. Miami also overcame the absence of head coach Erik Spoelstra, who missed the game because of COVID-19 protocols.