Kawhi Leonard hit a game-winning buzzer beater on Sunday evening, as his Toronto Raptors progressed to the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA.
With the best-of-seven series tied at 3-3 against the Philadelphia 76ers, the two teams were locked at 90-90 in the final seconds.
That’s when free-agent-to-be Leonard took an inbounds pass from Marc Gasol, before dribbling across the court and into the corner to create space for a potential series-winning shot. You can see what ensued below:
As you can see, the ball bounced off the rim four (!!) times before dropping and breaking the hearts of Philadelphia. It was also the first winning buzzer-beater in any Game 7 in NBA history.
Last night Kawhi Leonard did something that had never been done before in NBA history and in the process gave the Raptors something they’d been looking for, for nearly 25 years. pic.twitter.com/thycqddq6d— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 14, 2019
”It was great,” Leonard told the US media in his post-game press conference. ”That’s something I never experienced before, Game 7, a game-winning shot. It was a blessing to be able to get to that point and make that shot and feel that moment.”
The shot set off wild celebrations inside the Air Canada Center, as the Raptors advanced to the conference finals for the second time in four seasons. They will begin the conference finals Wednesday night against the Bucks in Milwaukee. Incidentally, it will be Milwaukee’s first conference finals appearance since facing the 76ers in 2001’s postseason. Older fans will fondly remember the gruelling seven-game series in which Allen Iverson and Vince Carter went back-and-forth and provided great entertainment for all.
Kawhi Leonard scored 243 points in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the most in a single postseason series since Michael Jordan scored 246 points in the 1993 NBA Finals.— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) May 13, 2019
As it were, the Sixers are now 11-21 in winner-takes-all Playoff games, and will face a thorough post-mortem heading into the offseason.