Wednesday, 17 July, 2019


Toronto Raptors keys to beating Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7

Toronto Raptors keys to beating Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 Toronto Raptors keys to beating Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7
Noah Ferguson | 13 May, 2019, 11:17

What an epic night for Toronto, and most notably, Drake. On Sunday, Leonard became the first player in National Basketball Association postseason history to hit a game-winning buzzer-beating in a Game 7. Here are the keys to the Raptors doing the same in Game 7. It was a blessing to be able to get to that point and make that shot and feel that moment. The 76ers were up 20 points after three quarters and cruised the rest of the way in the contest as the Raptors didn't get closer than the final margin.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors reacts to hitting the game winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ibaka stepped up with more monster buckets when the Raps badly needed them, and his team took a 67-64 lead into the final quarter of this riveting series.

"I felt like we had a chance", he said. "Nobody likes to lose, not that way". Toronto's Kawhi Leonard is 1-2 in his previous Game 7s, shooting 45 percent and averaging 15.7 points.

Coach Nick Nurse, sensing the need to switch things up after Philadelphia pulled ahead 2-1 in the series last week, chose to play Ibaka and Gasol together for chunks of the remaining games. "That's his uniqueness. Not only can he get you 30 and anywhere upwards from that, but there's moments when he can just decide you're not scoring, either". That time, he caught the ball and shot without dribbling. Players don't know if they're feeling it or not, if things are going their way or not, until they get out on the floor and things start to happen. "I don't know what to say".

Joel Embiid led his team with 21 points as all five Philadelphia starters finished in double digits.

"I give Toronto credit for a tenacious, switching defense", 76ers coach Brett Brown said.

"It's not unlike where we've been a couple of times already this series", Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. Almost two minutes passed before the next basket, Leonard's long jumper with 1:41 to go that was initially ruled a 3, but changed to a 2 after video review.

The Raptors led by four with 1:14 to play on a steal by Kyle Lowry, who set up Siakam for the layup.

Butler made one of two at the line and Leonard missed a pair of jump shots, giving the 76ers the ball down 89-86 with 24.1 seconds remaining.

When the second round got here, Leonard was on another level.

"It was one of those moments where it's just like a real-life game victor, Game 7, like count-it-down when you're back home, and everyone was celebrating like that", Kyle Lowry said. "That's all that matters". "(But) maybe the greatest shooter in the history of this game (Steph Curry) was shooting 25 per cent through five games of a series.

Butler, disgruntled in Minnesota before he was traded to Philadelphia in November, scored 19 points in the half and all of them seemed worthy of the highlight reel.

The 33-year-old guard said there's no point comparing this win-or-go-home game to 2016 - "Different game, different series, different time, different team".

The Raptors now return to the conference finals for the second time in franchise history and will face the Milwaukee Bucks. Toronto will go as far as Leonard takes them. Siakam had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

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