TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard sunk a miraculous game-winning shot as time expired to end the 76ers’ season with a 92-90 Game 7 loss in Toronto.
Here are some instant observations from the buzzer.
— The Sixers were clearly trying to get JJ Redick more involved by getting him into some of the dribble-hand-off action with Joel Embiid. They had so much success with it in the regular season. Unfortunately, the first quarter was not an efficient one. While the Sixers were able to generate a fair amount of open looks for Redick, he went just 1-of-5 from the floor in the first 12 minutes.
— The Raptors tried to cut off what they see as the Sixers’ most lethal weapons: Embiid and Jimmy Butler. They employed a lot more double and triple teams on Embiid and trapped Butler as best they could. To the Raptors’ credit, Butler went just 1-of-6 in the first half and Embiid just 2-of-10, but a lot of Embiid’s misses were off jumpshots.
— Redick and Tobias Harris were both able to get going later on in large part by creating shots for themselves. With the Toronto defense doing its best to cut off the other options, there were more spaces available for Redick and Harris to work around some of the defense.
— Embiid’s 22 first-half minutes were a career high for minutes in a half and tied his career record for minutes in any half. Greg Monroe got some run for just under two minutes but was a minus-9 in that time. His brief stint on the floor made it pretty clear that the Sixers were going to have to go small if they wanted to get Embiid any rest.
— For one of the leagues best rebounding teams during the playoffs, the Sixers sure do have a problem tracking down misses that bounce long. The Raptors offensive rebounds were the main reason Toronto was able to regain the lead, 67-64, heading into the fourth quarter.
— The Raptors defense was scrambling and rotating quick on every possession, causing multiple Sixers shot-clock violations in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, the Sixers seemed to be overthinking some of those possessions and passed up on open looks, forcing themselves to take tough shots at the end of the clock.
— With the game tied up 85-85 with less than three minutes left to play it was going to come down to little things and a lot of who would want it more in the final minutes. The Sixers scored no points for three straight minutes toward the end of the game.
» RAPTORS 92, SIXERS 90: Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard bounces Sixers out of playoffs, into uncertain offseason