'Dude, how are you not making these shots?'

A mug shot of Kyle Lowry on a milk carton was making the rounds on social media on Wednesday.

Posted by Twitter account Fake SportsCenter, the milk carton had Lowry's smiling face under the headline: "Missing. Have you seen me? Last seen in the regular-season."

Lowry was the first to admit Wednesday that the version of himself that earned NBA all-star honours has gone AWOL. That's why he stayed on the Air Canada Centre court, headphones in, black hoodie pulled up over his head, until 1:15 a.m. after Tuesday night's overtime loss to Miami in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

"Just being a kid again, trying to have some fun," Lowry said of his early-morning shooting session. "It was being out there and having time to reflect on things and think about the game that I grew up as a kid. . . and the game I love. There were countless nights I've done that back in North Philly."

Lowry was in good spirits after Wednesday's practice, open and honest with the couple of dozen reporters in attendance. He half-heartedly joked about an unflattering stat that a Raptors' media relations person had shown him: his 30.6 field goal percentage is the worst in a single post-season in 50 years.

"I'll take that award, I mean it's an award. . . take some type of good with it," he laughed — but followed up with a heavy sigh. "It's life. It's a basketball game, I know I can shoot better than 31 per cent."

The scrappy, hard-working guard has been instrumental in the Raptors' rise over the last three seasons. His shooting was off during the opening-round series against Indiana, but he made up for it with solid ball movement and defence. Lowry said the fact he's in a slump now, in the biggest stretch of his career, is what's most frustrating.

"It's crazy. It's mind-boggling to me. 'Dude, how are you not making these shots?' For me, I go into the games like I'm about to go and we are going to win this this game. Then I miss a shot and it's 'OK.' Then I miss another shot and that's when it's like 'Alright, I've got to try and do something different."'

He admitted it messes with his head when he releases the ball.

"For sure," he said. "Right now at this point for sure. . . but now going into (Thursday) it's not. I just have to go out and play."

DeMarre Carroll had some strong words about Lowry's slump.

'Look at yourself in the mirror'

"Sometimes you just have to look at yourself in the mirror. You have to man up. You have to be like: 'I'm the Kyle Lowry that played the 82 games, all-star,"' Carroll said. "You can say a lot to encourage him, but I feel like Kyle as the individual and a competitor, who he is, he has to look in the mirror and say 'I'm Kyle Lowry.'

"The Kyle Lowry I knew back in Memphis and Houston was the nitty gritty blue-collar type of guy like I am. He's still going to be that same Kyle Lowry and we never focus on offence. Blue-collar guys never focus on offence, we focus on the defensive end and then we allow our offence to open up. I feel like if he can get back to having fun playing defence and playing hard on the defensive end his offence will come easily."

Heat guard Goran Dragic, who played with Lowry in Houston, says he's surprised to see the guard struggle.

"He was always a confident guy and he's already played so many games and made so many big shots, that it's a little bit surprising," Dragic said. "I still feel like he's going to come back.

"He's already proven that if his shot is not falling, he can impact the game in different ways. He's crafty, he's making plays, he's a good passer, he's a hell of a good defender, always sacrificing his body and getting steals."

The Raptors had chances to win Game 1 despite Lowry's poor performance, but Toronto's two-time all-star said they can't win the series if he doesn't turn it around.

He'll get his next shot on Thursday, when the Raptors host the Heat in Game 2. The series then moves to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.

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