Raptors hero Kawhi sinks first Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history
LOS ANGELES, USA – Kawhi Leonard bounced in the game-winning shot at the buzzer as the Toronto Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with a 92-90 win over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers in a heartstopping Game 7 on Sunday, May 12 (Monday, May 13, Manila time).
The winner-take-all contest was a microcosm of the wildly unpredictable series with each team taking turns making runs or being inept until the biggest twist of all as Leonard finished it off in showstopping style.
"I got a fortuitous bounce," said Leonard of the first Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history. "I just shot it as hard as I could. I got some loft on it and it made the ball bounce soft and it ended up going in."
The Raptors advance to the NBA final four where they will play the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their series on Wednesday.
KAWHI CALLED SERIES! pic.twitter.com/V4AIuMULNO— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 13, 2019
With the score tied 90-90 and the game appearing to be headed to overtime, Leonard took matters into his own hands by getting open for a fallaway jumper from the right corner.
His arching moon ball at the buzzer bounced twice on each side of the rim before dropping into the bucket to clinch the series.
Leonard's winning shot came after Sixers Jimmy Butler tied the contest with 4 seconds left.
Leonard finished with a game-high 41 points while Pascal Siakam tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who are hoping to reach their first NBA finals in franchise history.
Toronto has leaned heavily on Leonard all season, and on Sunday he delivered. Serge Ibaka had 17 points, Kyle Lowry chipped in 10 and Marc Gasol grabbed 11 rebounds.
Joel Embiid – who cried openly after the heartbreaking loss – led the Sixers attack with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Tobias Harris had 15 points and 10 rebounds. (WATCH: Heartbroken Joel Embiid cries as Sixers crash out of playoffs)
The Raptors were up 89-85 with 74 seconds to play on a steal by Lowry, who set up Siakam for the layup.
Butler made one of two free throws, cutting the lead to 3. With 12 seconds to play, Joel Embiid made two free throws to trim the lead to one, 89-88.
Leonard had a chance to give Toronto a three-point lead but made just one of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining, and Butler tied the score 90-90 on a desperation driving layup.
"I was disappointed I missed that free throw," Leonard said. "So I really wanted to make that shot. I wanted to leave it all out on the floor just in case we lost so I would have been proud of myself." – Rappler.com