Not that we needed other NBA players to tell us that Kawhi Leonard hit a truly remarkable shot to oust the Philadelphia 76ers from the playoffs, but they were more than happy to do so anyway.
“Are you serious right now???????” gushed Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, and with good reason. Leonard had just led his Toronto Raptors past Philadelphia on Sunday with his Game 7 buzzer-beater, and his shot hit the rim an astonishing four times before falling through.
Part of what made the play so special was the cloud of desperation that hung over it, and not just because the score was tied with 4.2 seconds left when Toronto gained possession at midcourt, giving Leonard barely enough time to dribble around defenders before launching an off-balance, high-arcing shot. That was good for a 92-90 win that sent the Raptors to the Eastern Conference finals, where they will face the Milwaukee Bucks.
The victory also gave the Raptors the signature moment thus far in this postseason. (With all due respect to Damian Lillard’s deep three that bounced the Thunder in Round 1.) And Leonard, who is in his first — and possibly only — season in Toronto, had some fellow NBA players struggling to eloquently express what they just witnessed.
Finding a few more things to say was Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky, who tweeted: “That’s unreal. The ole rimmy game winner. Love it.”
Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore, on the other hand, was reduced to tweeting, “I have no words.” Others went to that old standby, various forms of “wow.”
“Biggest shot in Raptors history,” wrote Jamal Crawford, and it was hard to argue. Only once before in its 24-year history has Toronto reached the conference finals, and that 2016 appearance resulted in a 4-2 series loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who would go on to stun the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Claiming that the Raptors work on that last-second play “every day,” Leonard said after the game, “I missed the last one short, so I just wanted to put it up in the air, and got the shooter’s bounce.”
“Wow!!! Unbelievable game 7s,” tweeted the Suns’ Jimmer Fredette, referring to both the Raptors’ win and the Game 7 that preceded it Sunday, in which the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets. “Nothing better [than] the NBA playoffs.”
“That Kawhi shot gave me chills. Wow,” wrote Allonzo Trier of the New York Knicks.
Read more from The Post: