It’s been precisely one year since The Shot that was preceded by 4 bounces. Kawhi Leonard’s iconic Game 7 buzzer beater is fresh on the mind of Sixers fans, it’s replayed all the time, the photo won awards. The pain never went away; we just learned how to live with its existence. So the one year anniversary to us isn’t some celebration of more Philly sports trauma, but merely an acceptance that it happened, and now here we are. A lot has changed for the Sixers and the entire NBA since the 4th quarter of that fateful Game 7 on May 12, 2019. For that Philly team, the events that transpired in the 4th quarter were a microcosm of the players that participated. The moves and plays they made that day, and in that quarter, led to the 76ers team we have now that helped shape what the NBA landscape has become.
The 4th quarter starts with the Raptors leading 67-64…
Tobias Harris transition pull-up jumper – 11:08
In this game you saw what Tobias does well and what he doesn’t. His pull-up jumper is second to none in the league. It is so silky smooth, the only small forward who does it better is KD himself. But, there is just something about Tobias…more on that later.
Ben Simmons called for a charge on Kyle Lowry – 9:30
I needed a spot to fit in how much I hate Kyle Lowry. It has nothing to do with this article and how this quarter was a historic chapter in basketball history, but it still needed to be said. He TACKLED Ben Simmons, and got Simmons called for a charge. It was an egregious call in a crucial moment. Being on the right side of calls like that are one of Lowry’s true few specialties.
Jimmy Butler 2/9 going into the 4th quarter, hits huge 3 – 8:59
Classic Jimmy Butler game. He was shooting 22% going into the 4th quarter and had 6 points total. Then, when the team needed him the most, he makes the most crucial shots. This three pointer stopped the bleeding, it settled the ship. That’s what Jimmy did, he was the captain of the ship and guided it threw murky waters. Sometimes his poor shooting is why the ship was in unsteady waters to begin with.
Joel Embiid hits three to take the lead – 7:36
If Joel Embiid is healthy, the course of NBA history swings a different direction starting with the Sixers winning that series. He came out in Game 4 with that respiratory infection and his lung capacity cost Brett Brown’s team the series. Another thing about this play: JJ Redick draws two defenders on the wing, the Raptors were petrified of leaving a shooter like that open. The attention Redick draws which in turn opens the floor, is sorely lacking for the Sixers team this season.
Ben Simmons banks one in to retake the lead, bodies collide and everyone bleeds – 6:50
The one player on the Sixers who likely took the most from this series is Ben Simmons. Jimmy Butler was brought in because Embiid and Simmons weren’t mature and skilled enough yet to lead. This loss inspired a fire we’ve started to see this season, especially in Ben. People ALWAYS bring up the jumper. They ignore that he’s been in attack mode, driving to the lane more and looking to score. He’s turned himself into one of the best defenders in the league. People will ignore the fire Game 7 created.
Joel Embiid with a fade-away J to tie it at 80 – 5:44
Joel Embiid played 46 minutes. He was a +10. In a game the Sixers lost by 2. In the two minutes he didn’t play, they were outscored by 12 points. Just think about it the next time you plan to complain about him.
Tobias Harris misses open 3 down 82-80 – 4:53
Anddd back to Tobias Harris. He just can’t seem to find any semblance of consistency. There aren’t stats to back it up, but it feels like he has missed some monumental shots during his short tenure in Philly. The most recent being a wide open game-winner in the corner (same spot as this missed 3 in Toronto). He missed, Sixers lose in overtime. It is so odd that a guy who can regularly score 25 for you also sometimes doesn’t feel like an asset. What a strange career arc type.
JJ Redick And One! – 3:29
The Sixers really miss the instant offense that Redick provided. Shake Milton was becoming a weapon before this season was cut short. And Furkan Korkmaz has developed but he’s no JJ. Very few shooters are. The reason Redick isn’t back (aside from money) is because he is a defensive liability. In that 4th quarter, the Raptors went big with Ibaka, Gasol, Siakam, and Leonard all on the floor. If Redick got switched off of Lowry, he was screwed, And now he’s gone.
Sixers 24 second violation – 2:43
The game got helter skelter. It was chaos. Both teams were playing with their lives on the line. The Sixers couldn’t get anything going for too long. Not even Jimmy the Closer. But, their defense during this time period was just as solid as Toronto’s. They really clamped down and suffocated Toronto. Kawhi took a career high in shots. He didn’t really even shoot well. The defensive game plan was top notch. No one will ever remember. But they need to be that stout again come playoff time.
Joel Embiid sinks two free throws – 12.1 seconds remain
Aside from Anthony Davis with the Lakers, the Sixers may be the only team where you trust the Center the most at the free throw line in crunch time.
Kawhi Leonard misses free throw – 10.8 seconds left
There is life…
Jimmy Butler fastbreak lay up ties the game – 4.2 seconds left
Go until someone stops you. You hear that all the time from coaches when you’re playing basketball. Jimmy Butler took it the length of the court because no one on the Raptors stopped him and he tied the game in a shocking manner. Does anyone on the current Sixers make that play?
The Shot – 0 seconds left
You know the rest, it’s history. The Raptors win it all. It ends the Warriors dynasty. Durant goes East. Kawhi, West. After the loss, Jimmy moves on to Miami, and now they are a title contender as well. The Sixers go a different route, they bring in Al Horford because they needed a back-up big after Joel’s +10 in a two point loss. The course of history in the NBA changes, and it starts with that 4th quarter one year ago today.