Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Kawhi Leonard Double Doink Sends Raptors to Eastern Conference Finals

Kawhi Leonard Double Doink Sends Raptors to Eastern Conference Finals

If you're not already aware, the Drake Curse has been active since around 2013, and has summarily poisoned teams who have had the misfortune of crossing paths with Drake, either via players interacting with the rapper, or by Drake himself openly supporting them in public. Simmons did it all early (eight points, five assists in the first quarter) and the Sixers got the outside shots to fall - an early domination that happened even as Embiid was held scoreless until he hit a 3 early in the second quarter.

You probably remember where you were when Carter's jumper clanked off the back of the rim that Sunday evening in 2001, same as you will probably remember this Sunday in 2019, when Leonard exorcised Toronto's demons. What will we get when we spin the wheel again on Sunday? They came out with a fighting spirit on Thursday night in front of their home crowd and led throughout the duration of the contest as they cruised to a 112-101 win in order to force a deceive Game 7 in the series between the two teams.

"I think at first a lot of us were like, "Ah, it doesn't look too good", said Raptors guard Danny Green, a long-time teammate of Leonard's.

The Raptors will make their second-ever appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

At this point in the series, both teams know the game plans and both teams know each other.

That's the first thing that came to mind in the immediate aftermath of watching Kawhi Leonard hit a shot you had to see to believe. During their 11 playoff games they own a 100.3 defensive rating and that is second to only the Bucks, who have played two fewer playoff games. "I can't imagine it meaning any more". "They're special. They are a life lesson, a life opportunity".

Portland's star Damian Lillard had an bad shooting night, making just three of 17 shots for 13 points, although two of them were crucial three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

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The Portland-Denver victor will visit top-seeded Golden State in Game 1 of the West finals Tuesday.

If Redick can get hot out of the gate, Butler, Embiid and Simmons will all start feeding him outside.

The 76ers have consistently outrebounded the Raptors in this series, including an average of 10.5 offensive rebounds to Toronto's 7.0 for the series.

Toronto's defense has more and more been to throw multiple defenders at Leonard, trying not to let him beat them. From there, the stage was set and Leonard would have his revenge moment. He can't be afraid to take 25-plus shots and when combined with his ability to get to the line consistently, the pieces are there for a monster game.

The illness and injuries seem to be behind Embiid and that is risky news for the Raptors.

The foes played tug-of-war for the lead in the closing quarter - Embiid playing huge, Jimmy Butler hitting the game-tying bucket in the dying seconds on his 16-point night. Sprinkle in a dominant night on the glass and a swat-fest near the rim, it would be a night to remember for Embiid. Brett Brown tried to use Greg Monroe in the first half. If his job is in jeopardy, expect his players to step up to try and save their coach.

A loss could lead Philadelphia to make a massive gamble this offseason by firing Brown and searching for his replacement while trying to re-sign Butler and Tobias Harris.

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