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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 12th in 2019, Kawhi Leonard's contested baseline jumper over the outstretched right arm of Joel Embiid bounced on the rim four times before falling in.

The shot is 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.

It would help the Toronto Raptors clinch the Conference Semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a 92-90 Game 7 victory and advance to just their second-ever appearance in the Conference Finals.

The shot would give Leonard 41 for the game and an average of 34.7 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, iconic and memorable shots in NBA playoff history.

Here are a few different angles of the iconic shot:

Courtesy this shot, the Raptors advanced past the 76ers after a tightly contested seven-game series. In the subsequent Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors came back from an 0-2 series deficit to win their first-ever Conference Championship.

In the NBA Finals, the Raptors would defeat the Golden State Warriors, the two-time reigning champions, in six games for their first-ever NBA Championship.

Other notable events on May 12th

  • In 1974, the Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 102-87 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 12th

  • In 2019, CJ McCollum scored 37 points as the Portland Trail Blazers came from 17 down to defeat the Denver Nuggets 100-96 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 OKC Thunder eliminated the San Antonio Spurs with a 113-99 Game 6 victory 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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