A game was slipping away from the Raptors, as so many have so early in the NBA season, and Dwane Casey was trying to imbue his team with some sense of confidence during a timeout.

He had tried cajoling and ranting and all the predictable methods a coach would employ.

But when it came right down to it, when he realized that he needed someone to connect with his team on some real level, to rise them mentally and physically, he looked to one of the newest players on the roster, a guy who might normally be feeling his way into a leadership role, a guy just back from two weeks off with an injury.

Casey, of course, looked to Kyle Lowry because Lowry, just a couple of months into his tenure in Toronto, is the kind of guy a coach looks to in difficult times.

"That's what I was saying in timeouts last night: "Look, I want to see that look on your face, that winning look that, 'hey I believe I can win,' " said Casey.

"At times, like most young teams, the first time something goes wrong, the first thing that goes down are your shoulders. You don't see that with Kyle. Kyle is always up, always saying 'come on, it's a close game.' We need that, we've got to have that from Kyle."

Casey's gambit in Philadelphia last week ultimately failed — the Raptors faltered down the stretch and were beaten by the 76ers — but it's telling that he went in that direction at all.

It speaks volumes to the place Lowry has found in the team's hierarchy, how players tend to gravitate to him thanks to the strength of his personality, how he has emerged as a leader after such a short period of time.