May 27, 2019
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Raptors defeat Sixers 92-90 to move into NBA Eastern finals

Toronto, Canada, May 12 (efe-epa).- The Toronto Raptors defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals 92-90 on Sunday to take the best-of-seven series and set up a final clash with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Once again, Kawhi Leonard was the key player for the Raptors with 41 points and, most importantly, the game-winning basket in the last seconds that tipped the game in his team's favor.

Leonard's jump shot bounced off the rim a few times before dropping in to seal the win for his team.

"Obviously, it's a nice lucky bounce (...) but I thought we were very unlucky for a lot of that game so it came back to us a little bit, balanced out," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after the game.

This time, Leonard was ably supported by Serge Ibaka, who ended the game with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Marc Gasol had seven points and 11 rebounds.

Joel Embiid was the top scorer for the 76ers with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while JJ Reddick added 17 points and Jimmy Butler another 16.

It was the last opportunity for the Raptors to redeem themselves for the mistakes they had made in Game 6, which they lost 112-101.

Right from the start of the game, the Raptors concentrated on not allowing rebounds to fall into the hands of the Sixers or giving their shooters any second opportunities, a tactic that worked and helped the Canadian team take the score to 6-0 in the first three minutes and end the first quarter 18-13 ahead despite a disastrous shooting percentage.

The Raptors began the second quarter strongly and took an eight-point lead, but the 76ers fought back and within three minutes went on a 2-11 run that took them to within four points of their opponents.

With 2:37 left for half time, the 76ers leveled the score at 39 but the first two three-pointers of the Raptors, by Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, and Leonard's acrobatic short shots helped the team finish the second quarter at 44-40.

In the third quarter, shots by Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and J.J. Reddick took the 76ers to a seven-point lead over the Raptors with five minutes to go, but thanks to Leonard and Ibaka, the Toronto-based team turned the scoreboard around and ended the quarter at 67-64.

The fourth quarter was a nailbiter. With one minute left in the game, the Raptors seemed to be winning by four points, but the 76ers' pressure on Leonard caused him to miss his shots until only four seconds were left: with the score tied at 90-90, he made a running jump shot that earned his squad the ticket to the conference finals.

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