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Toronto Raptors

This Date in NBA History (May 12): Kawhi Leonard nails historic Game 7 buzzer-beater vs. Philadelphia 76ers in 2019 Conference Semifinals

On May 12, 2019, Kawhi Leonard hit a contested baseline jumper over Joel Embiid that bounced on the rim four times before falling in.

It was the first-ever Game 7 buzzer-beater and only the second shot in NBA history to end the series in a do-or-die game.

Leonard's historic shot helped the Toronto Raptors clinch their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers and advance to just their second-ever appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The shot gave Leonard 41 points for the game. He ended up averaging 34.7 points per game for the series, by far the highest of any player from either team.

MORE: Best sights, sounds and twitter reactions to Kawhi's buzzer-beater

"It was great," Leonard said, per Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com. "That's something I never experienced before - Game 7, winning shot. It's a blessing to get to that point and make that shot and feel that moment and it's something I can look back on in my career."

Given the moment, what was at stake, the magnitude of the shot, the four bounces, it certainly ranks among the most clutch shots in NBA playoff history.

Here are a few different angles of the iconic shot:

Following Leonard's shot, the Raptors came back from a 2-0 deficit against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. They then took down the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals to win their first-ever championship.

Other notable events on May 12

  • In 1974, the Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to clinch their 12th championship in franchise history.
  • In 1985, the New York Knicks won the first-ever NBA Lottery. They would go on to select Patrick Ewing in the draft with the No.1 pick.
  • In 1992, Christian Laettner and Clyde Drexler wrapped up the final two spots on the Dream Team, as per an announcement by USA Basketball.

Notable playoff eliminations on May 12

  • In 2019, CJ McCollum scored 37 points as the Portland Trail Blazers came from 17 down to defeat the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. With the win, the Trail Blazers advanced to their seventh Conference Finals appearance and the first since 2000.
  • In 2016, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 65 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 in the Conference Semifinals. This was the Thunder's fourth Conference Finals appearance in six years.
  • In 1996, the Seattle SuperSonics registered their first playoff series sweep in franchise history when they swept the Houston Rockets, the two-time reigning champions, in the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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