Don't make Brett Brown the 76ers scapegoat: Macnow

Don't make Brett Brown the 76ers scapegoat: Macnow

The Philadelphia 76ers came so very close to clinching their first Eastern Conference Finals berth since 2001, but fell just short thanks to a game-winning shot from Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors.

The absurd shot from the baseline bounced on the rim four times before it dropped through the net. This time around, the Raps got their revenge with a 92-90 win in Game 7 over the 76ers.

The 76ers' top scorer was Jimmy Butler, earning 16 points during his almost 43 minutes of playing time.

Raptors: In its only other conference finals, Toronto lost to LeBron James and Cleveland in six games in 2016.

Ibaka stepped up with more monster buckets when the Raps badly needed them, and his team took a 67-64 lead into the final quarter of this riveting series.

With the clock winding down and 7-foot Sixers center Joel Embiid draping him, Leonard shot a fadeaway from the corner, in front of the 3-point line.

But the Raptors fired back with an 11-3 run punctuated by a Lowry three-point play that saw Toronto head into the locker-room at halftime up 44-40. "He's taller and longer than me, so I ended up finding a spot that I work on, and I just knew that I had to shoot it high".

"Pretty much I'm a guy that acts like I've been there before". Embiid, who gingerly walked into the postgame press conference with his left knee packaged in ice, had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes. After Philadelphia extended the series with a win on their home court in Game 6, it was Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors coming up big on their home court in a Game 7 on Sunday night.

"Brett Brown's a great coach", Ennis said. Toronto could have eliminated the 76ers in Game 6 on Thursday, but instead the Raptors shrunk inside Philadelphia's arena and failed. "He's a great player".

Butler is the calming influence on a Sixers team with young stars in Simmons and Embiid. Simmons - who averaged almost 17 PPG during the regular season - has scored more than 10 points just twice in the six games against Toronto. Despite their lack of deep playoff success, the Raptors are making their fourth straight conference semifinals appearance. He followed that up by averaging 34.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists in seven games against the Sixers while continuing his red-hot shooting by hitting 54.0 percent of his attempts.

From Lowry's assist to the charge on Embiid, the Raptors outscored the 76ers 17-7. Blowouts are rare, with only 14 Game 7s getting decided by more than 20 points. Nikola Jokic had a triple-double — 21 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists — in that game for the Nuggets, and coach Michael Malone is fond of saying his team has the best home-court advantage in the National Basketball Association.