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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Recap from an epic Game 7 between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers

The Toronto Raptors are going to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Led by Kawhi Leonard, who scored a game-high 41 points, the Raptors defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in a thrilling Game 7 by a final score of 92-90.

The 76ers pushed the Raptors to the limit behind strong performances from Joel Embiid (21 points, 11 rebounds), JJ Redick (17 points) and Jimmy Butler (16 points), but it wasn't quite enough.

For more on the game, here are four takeaways...

Kyle Lowry being Kyle Lowry

The Raptors were losing control of the game in the third quarter. A floater by Marc Gasol put them ahead 50-41 with 9:28 to play in the period, but the 76ers went on a 16-0 run to take the lead.

The Raptors couldn't buy a shot during that stretch. They missed all 10 of their field goal attempts, with Kawhi Leonard going 0-for-6.

Fortunately for the Raptors, Kyle Lowry responded with a series of hustle plays that saved their season.

Lowry got the Raptors back on the board by setting Serge Ibaka up with a layup following a free throw from Jimmy Butler. He rebounded back-to-back misses from Toronto a couple of minutes later, the second of which led to a 3-pointer from Leonard to make it a one-point game.

The Raptors regained the lead off of a layup from Lowry and then extended it to three following an incredible steal and assist from - you guessed it - Lowry.

Lowry wasn't done there either - he closed the quarter by drawing an offensive foul on Joel Embiid.

From Lowry's assist to the charge on Embiid, the Raptors outscored the 76ers 17-7.

If it weren't for that run, there's a good chance the Raptors wouldn't be in the Eastern Conference Finals right now.

Kawhi Leonard leads the way

This is why the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard.

With Toronto's season on the line, Leonard led them to victory with a game-high 41 points. It wasn't his most efficient performance of the season - he shot 16-for-39 from the field and 2-for-9 from the 3-point line - but he showed up when the Raptors needed him most.

After Lowry got the Raptors back in the game, Leonard dominated the fourth quarter with 15 of the team's 25 points. He hit big shot after big shot, none bigger than the one that won them the game at the buzzer, which made up for a free throw he missed a few seconds earlier.

The 39 field goal attempts marked a new career-high for Leonard. His 43 minutes were also the most he's played in regulation as a member of the Raptors.

The Raptors needed absolutely everything out of Leonard and he delivered, as he has all season long.

Serge Ibaka off the bench

Serge Ibaka picked quite the time to have his best game of the postseason.

In 29 minutes of play, Ibaka scored 17 points off the bench - the second-most on the team behind Kawhi Leonard - on 6-for-10 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from the perimeter.

The only other Raptor to make multiple 3-pointers was Leonard, who went 2-for-9 from distance. Everyone else on the team combined to shoot 2-for-12 from the 3-point line.

Ibaka made an impact in other areas as well, pulling down eight rebounds - four of which were on the offensive glass - and dishing out three assists.

The combination helped the Raptors outscore the 76ers by 22 points with him on the court, giving Ibaka the best +/- in the game.

Raptors attack the glass

In a series where the Raptors have been comprehensively beaten on the boards, they brought every bit of hustle in Game 7, dominating the glass as they punched their ticket to the next round.

The Raptors won the rebound battle 49-41, pulling down 16 on the offensive end to the 76ers' five, contributing to them taking an extra 24 shots on the night.

For the 76ers, that number will jump out the most given they only lost by two points, but the Raptors' commitment to fighting for every possession and limiting their turnovers set the stage for Kawhi Leonard's late game heroics.

Sure, they lost this game at the buzzer, but Philly had plenty of opportunities to swing Game 7 in their favour. Toronto's extra effort just proved the difference.

Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam led the charge with 11 boards each, while Kawhi Leonard (8), Serge Ibaka (8), Kyle Lowry (6) and Danny Green (4) all did their bit.

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