Leonard's squat-prompting buzzer beater sends Raptors to conference finals

Double trouble Pair of Game 7s await to end Round 2

Double trouble Pair of Game 7s await to end Round 2

The Raptors will make their second-ever appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto rolled to a 125-89 home win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead before Philadelphia answered with a 112-101 home win in Game 6. Matters were not helped by Harris never made more than two threes in a game and topped out at 16 points.

The Trail Blazers' best player was 3 of 17 from the floor in Game 7 and Portland needed more.

After Philadelphia's Jimmy Butler tied it with a driving layup with 4.2 seconds left, Toronto used their final timeout to draw up a play for Leonard, who dribbled toward the right corner and launched the high-arching shot.

Kawhi Leonard is swamped by his team mates after downing the victor. The front office brought in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris at early points in the season, making it hard to assimilate them on the fly as the team tried to win games.

Technically, the Sixers advanced further - making it to Game 7 of the second round, rather than Game 5, as they did in their loss to the Boston Celtics in 2018 - but Harris' statement obviously begs the question as to what changes could occur because his goal was not met.

Lowry, who had an injured thumb taped in the first half, had 10 points, and Gasol added seven points and 11 rebounds. Leonard's teammates closed in while Embiid walked away with an off-season ahead of thinking about the shot.

Leonard's shot from the corner put him in elite company with Jordan, making him just the second player in National Basketball Association history with a game-winning buzzer-beater in a winner-take-all playoff game. It was a game they had to have.

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Embiid had a burst of energy late in the third when he blocked a driving Leonard, and Simmons capitalized with a basket for an 18-point cushion.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown didn't have much trouble sleeping the night before his team's biggest game of the season.

The Raptors now are 10 in the league during the postseason by averaging 104.6 points per game.

Serge Ibaka also helped the Raptors with 17 points and eight rebounds. Embiid led the Sixers with 21 points. Toronto is near the bottom of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking 13 with 41.2 boards per game.

The Raptors opened as 6.5-point favorites in Game 7.

"I think you would tend to think that in a long coaching career this is really, really, really big, biggest moment ever, but I think back to when I was getting ready to coach the Manchester Giants versus the Birmingham Bullets back in 2000, it meant a lot to me in the moment", Toronto's Nick Nurse said.

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