Leonard sinks buzzer, sends Raptors to East Finals

Tom Pennington  Getty Images

Denver took back control of the series following an epic four-overtime loss in Game 3 on Friday night.

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers rallied on the back of CJ McCollum's 37 points to stun the Nuggets 100-96 in Denver and book a Western Conference finals date with National Basketball Association champions Golden State.

The Houston Rockets are down 3-2 in the series but the Golden State Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a calf injury in Game 5.

Toronto coach Nick Nurse said the Bucks present challenges his team hasn't faced in eliminating Orlando and Philadelphia in the first two rounds. Dame and CJ being locked in from the outset = Portland at their best. "They look at me as their best player", Jokic said postgame. Teams that won the previous game have gone 20-25 straight up and 23-22 against the spread in Game 7s since 2005.

CJ McCollum with the chase-down block.

McCollum raced to stop a breakaway layup by Jamal Murray, who had a miserable night shooting, missing 14 of 18 shots.

McCollum credited Seth Curry for cutting off Murray's lane to the basket. "If I've got to play 45 minutes and push myself out there, that's what I'll do". Not many players - even the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James - have ever put up numbers like that. That's how I got here. On top of that, Lillard dropped 50 points and buried a game-winning three from a step in front of the half court line to close out the Thunder.

There's no question that the Bucks are going to be a tough out, as they've been dominant through the playoffs. Averaging 26.4 points and 14.4 rebounds, out of the five semifinal games, he's logged two triple-doubles and two double-doubles. With 12.1 seconds to play, Embiid made two free throws to trim the lead to one. I was going through a lot with everything that was going on. I want it to be close. As long as you're giving 100 percent, you can't be nervous because you're focused on the plays and actions and whatever you're doing on the floor. How we responded, I liked that. "He's having a great game and make somebody else make a play or make a shot". The Nuggets got within 113-103 with 1:04 left, but Craig and Jokic fouled out and Portland closed out the win. Instead of missing the second on goal, he made it for a 98-96 deficit. Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors will look to fend off the 76ers in the north.

Toronto Raptors' superstar Kawhi Leonard hit the game-winner against the Philadelphia 76ers to send his team to Eastern Conference Finals.

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In Game 1 Denver pulled out a major victory to set the tone for the series. "I just shot it as hard as I could".

It bounced once, twice, three times and rolled in to give Toronto a 92-90 win. And now, they move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, with much of their story still to write.

Leonard scored 41 points on 16-of-39 shooting. "That's his uniqueness. Not only can he get you 30 and anywhere upwards from that, but there's moments when he can just decide you're not scoring, either".

Toronto knows Leonard will perform like a superstar in Game 7.

But the ball fell the right way, eventually, thanks to just the right combination of physics and fate, to nudge it past the outstretched hands of the playoff demons that had bedevilled the Raptors so many times before. "I ended up finding a spot that I like, that I work on".

Toronto has leaned heavily on Leonard all season long and Sunday he delivered with the help of his supporting staff. Serge Ibaka had 17 points, Kyle Lowry chipped in 10 and Marc Gasol grabbed 11 rebounds.

Denver led by as many as 10 points in the opening quarter but Portland went on an 11-4 run to start the second quarter that closed the gap to 38-37.

"I think over the course of the series, at least after Game 1, I just haven't seen the ball go in consistently enough", Lillard said. Still, Murray's activity on offense will be vital for the Nuggets and it's nearly certain that we will witness that from the young gunner in Game 7.

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