The Toronto Raptors defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with Kawhi Leonard hitting an absolutely devastating game-winning buzzer beater over a sprawling Joel Embiid.
With the game tied at 90 and 4.2 seconds remaining, the Raptors inbounded the ball to Kawhi Leonard — who else? Ben Simmons gave chase to Leonard along the perimeter, and Embiid then stepped up to provide a double team. As Embiid closed in, Kawhi hesitated only slightly before darting toward the corner. Leonard hoisted a prayer over Embiid just before both spilled spilled out of bounds. The clock expires.
Clank — shot hits the near side of the rim and bounces slightly to the left.
Then it kisses of off the front of the rim.
A third and fourth bounce on the far side of the rim, and then it squeezes through the nylon.
The game was ugly and the Sixers erred over and over again. The Raptors collected offensive rebounds like children grabbing candy under a pinata; meanwhile, the Sixers’ lack of offensive execution down the stretch was an insult to basketball coaches across planet earth, consuming a shot clock violation, launching an air ball and fumbling a turnover on consecutive possessions.
But somehow, the Sixers just wouldn’t go away, they kept creeping closer and closer. Jimmy G. Buckets had appeared to enter the building, and even Joel Embiid looked to have some renewed energy. Butler tied the game up with 4.2 seconds remaining. I was sure, “This things going to overtime, and the Sixers will have the momentum.” Foolish.
For Sixers fans everywhere, this was heartbreaking. I mean, the ball didn’t swish in. It quadruple doinked. Kawhi gave us as much hope as a human being can possibly hold, and then sucked the life out of us.
There’s much to discuss, but I am exhausted. I need a good sleep to process the game. Fun, interesting, exciting season. Thoroughly enjoyed this cast of characters. Heartbreaking end.