Kawhi Leonard made history Sunday night with his dramatic buzzer-beater to propel the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 92-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, and he understood the magnitude of the moment.
"It was great," Leonard said, per Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com. "That's something I never experienced before—Game 7, winning shot. It's a blessing to get to that point and make that shot and feel that moment and it's something I can look back on in my career."
Nobody has experienced that before.
CJ McCollum and the Blazers Snapped Postseason Losing Streak for "Jennifer"
Jordan, Irving & Paul Invest in Plant-Based Food as Vegetarianism Sweeps NBA
Boogie, Luka and the Rest of the NBA Got Some Wild Techs This Season
Jarrett Allen Is One of the NBA’s Hottest Rim Protectors
Dwyane Wade's Jersey Swaps Created Epic Moments This NBA Season
OKC’s Russell Westbrook Makes NBA History While Honoring Nipsey Hussle
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker Makes History with Scoring Tear
29 Years Ago Today, Michael Jordan Dropped Career-High 69 Points
Chris Bosh Is Getting His No. 1 Jersey Raised to the Rafters in Miami
Steph Curry Returns to Houston for the First Time Since His Moon Landing Troll
Lou Williams Is Coming for a Repeat of Sixth Man of the Year
Step Aside Lakers, Pat Beverley Has the Clippers Stealing the LA Shine
LeBron Passes Jordan on All-Time Scoring List, Keeps Shredding NBA Record Books
Trae Young's Hot Streak Is Heating Up the ROY Race with Luka Doncic
LeBron James and 2 Chainz Form a Superteam to Release a New Album
Miami Heat Legend Dwyane Wade's #OneLastDance Dominated February
Warriors Fans Go Wild After Unforgettable Moments and Gifts from Steph Curry
Eight Years Ago, the Nuggets Traded Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks
Two Years Ago, the Kings Shipped Superstar DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans
The NBA All-Star Game Will Be Competitive Again If the League Raises the Stakes
Arnovitz noted it is the first Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history and only the second shot to end a series in a do-or-die game. Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan drilled a buzzer-beater to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 in the first round of the 1989 playoffs.
Leonard’s buzzer-beater was his 39th field-goal attempt of the game and hung on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before it fell through. He finished with 41 points and averaged 34.7 a night in the series win over the Sixers.
The Raptors will surely need more of a balanced effort against a Milwaukee Bucks team that led the league in defensive rating during the regular season, per NBA.com, but they were winning or losing with their best player doing the heavy lifting on the offensive end in Sunday’s decisive battle.
They traded for Leonard for these exact moments, and he delivered in historic fashion.