Brett Brown needs NBA Finals berth to keep job

Tanya Simon
May 13, 2019

"That's something I never experienced before - Game 7, winning shot", Leonard said.

It's a situation that must be avoided and even with the drama created by management, the talent on this team in combination with a very good coach is enough to overcome it and win Game 7 on the road. It was a blessing to be able to get to that point and make that shot and feel that moment. It's been a back-and-forth series, with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors going punch-for-punch with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler and the Sixers.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) watches as the ball bounces around the rim before dropping through to send his team into the NBA Eastern Conference finals at the expense of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Raptors have covered the spread in six straight games following a loss of more than 10 points and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.

It's a tough pill to swallow to say that a season was all for naught when it ends on a miraculous shot, but that's the margin of error Philly has now found itself in. "Nobody likes to lose, not that way". He was 16-of-39 from the field, including 2-for-9 from three-point range in the win.

Coach Nick Nurse, sensing the need to switch things up after Philadelphia pulled ahead 2-1 in the series last week, made a decision to play Ibaka and Gasol together for chunks of the remaining games.

Philadelphia's starting five, heralded as one of the best collections of talent in the sport, has still played only 21 games together in the regular season and playoffs combined. It was kind of loose, so I was just figuring out how to pass the ball. The suspense was intense, and for a moment, Philly probably thought they were going to overtime.

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"I already know Kawhi's going to be Kawhi, always gonna play D, but my job, I have to make those shots and grab a couple rebounds".

Serge Ibaka also helped the Raptors with 17 points and eight rebounds.

"I give Toronto credit for a tenacious, switching defense", 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "They were getting the rebound and pushing it out on us, and we didn't do a great job in transition".

Leonard still had Embiid on his tail, and as he picked up his fourth dribble and elevated, the big man did a little bunny hop in order to time his final jump and contest the shot.

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

When the second round got here, Leonard was on another level. "That's all that matters".

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. It is Toronto's second trip to the conference finals in four seasons, where they will face the Bucks. Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Raptors vs. Sixers spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up more than $3,000 on its top-rated National Basketball Association picks this season, and find out. It finished 7 for 30. Toronto battled back behind 11 points from Leonard and took a 67-64 advantage to the final quarter. Joel Embiid finally looked like his old self on the floor, putting up 17 points with 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. They will open the conference finals Wednesday night at Milwaukee.

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