Leonard hits bouncer at buzzer, Raptors beat 76ers in Game 7

  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates his last-second basket with teammates at the end of the second half of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts with teammates after making the buzzer beating shot to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers at the end of the second half of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball game in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) Nathan Denette

  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, center, celebrates his game-winning basket as time expired at the end of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Toronto won 92-90. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, left, and teammate Mike Scott, right, guard Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal game in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, right, takes a shot as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, left, and teammate Jimmy Butler, right, defend during second half NBA Eastern Conference semifinal action in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

  • Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) stops Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) from scoring during second half NBA Eastern Conference basketball semifinal action in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) Nathan Denette

  • Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, left, fouls Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, center, as he drives to the basket against Joel Embiid, right, during second half NBA Eastern Conference basketball semifinal action in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

  • Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) and teammate Ben Simmons (25) pressure Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during first half NBA Eastern Conference semifinal action in Toronto on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Frank Gunn

Associated Press
Published: 5/12/2019 11:54:05 PM

TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard bounced, bounced, bounced, bounced the Philadelphia 76ers out of the playoffs.

Leonard hit a shot from the corner over Joel Embiid at the buzzer that bounced off the rim four times before falling to give the Toronto Raptors a 92-90 victory over the 76ers on Sunday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“It was great,” Leonard said. “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.”

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

It bounced to the top of the backboard, hit the near side of the rim again, then the other side twice before going through, setting off a wild celebration as the Raptors advanced to the conference finals for the second time in four seasons. They will open the conference finals Wednesday night at Milwaukee.

“It’s tough,” Butler said. “Nobody likes to lose, not that way.

Leonard scored 41 points on 16-of-39 shooting.

“He was awesome at both ends,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “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.”

The Raptors ran a similar play for Leonard during the first round against Orlando. That time, he caught the ball and shot without dribbling.

“Remembering that moment, I knew I had some time to try to get some space, rather than just catch and shoot the ball,” Leonard said. “I ended up finding a spot that I like, that I work on. I just knew I had to shoot it high.”

Serge Ibaka added 17 points, and Pascal Siakam had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto.

Embiid, in tears as he left the court, led the 76ers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. JJ Redick had 17 points, Butler added 16, and Tobias Harris had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“I give Toronto credit for a tenacious, switching defense,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We had a hard time turning the corner once they did switch.”

Redick tied it at 85 with a three-point play with 3:29 left. Nearly 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.

On Philadelphia’s next possession, Kyle Lowry forced a steal near midcourt and fed Siakam for a fast-break layup, giving Toronto an 89-85 lead with 1:14 left.

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. Embiid was fouled and made both, cutting it to 89-88 with 12 seconds left.

Leonard was fouled with 10.8 seconds left. He made the first, but missed the second, setting up Butler’s tying layup.

“We did a lot of things that we could have done better but we found a way to win the game,” Lowry said. “That’s all that matters.”

Tip-ins

76ers: Embiid shot 6-for-18. ... Philadelphia finished 9-for-27 from 3-point range. ... The 76ers made 17 turnovers leading to 21 points for the Raptors.

Raptors: In its only other conference finals, Toronto lost to LeBron James and Cleveland in six games in 2016. ... Toronto went 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first quarter. It finished 7-for-30 ... Leonard had Toronto’s only assist of the first.

Rotten record

The 76ers are 11-21 in winner-take-all playoff games.




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