The Toronto Raptors will play in another Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the second consecutive year. NBA fans remember what happened last year in the semifinals as the Raptors went on to win and eventually win their first NBA title.
This year the Raptors have battled back and forced a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics. Can the Raptors have success again this year?
The Toronto Raptors memorable championship run in 2019
The Raptors had a storybook ending to the 2019 season when they defeated the two-time defending champions Golden State Warriors. Going into the 2019 playoffs, the Raptors were the No. 2 seed. The Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard, who was in his first year with the team and they were determined to make a deep postseason run. Toronto took on the Orlando Magic in the first round and had no problem with them as they won the series 4-1.
Going into the next round, the Raptors had to play against a tough Philadelphia 76ers team. Both teams gave it their all throughout the series. The series felt like a Conference Finals matchup; that’s how intense it was. Neither team wanted to lose, and the players left it all out on the court.
The epic Game 7 game-winning shot
The series went to seven games, and whoever won would take on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Finals. Game 7 was an epic battle, and the entire game was close. Toward the end of the fourth quarter, the game was tied up at 90, with four seconds left. The Raptors had a chance to win the game on their home court. Kawhi Leonard had the ball in his hands and was determined to send his team to the next round. Out of the inbounds, Leonard dribbled to the corner right in front of the Raptors bench and shot the ball off the dribble.
As the ball was in the air, Leonard and the rest of his teammates watched the ball bounce around the rim until it finally went in. The Raptors and the fans went crazy as Leonard was the hero making that shot. That shot was arguably one of the greatest shots in NBA history. The Raptors defeated the Bucks in the Conference Finals and defeated the Warriors in the NBA Finals to win their first title in franchise history. It was a magical run for the Raptors in 2019.
The Toronto Raptors have a chance to make some postseason magic again in 2020
Toronto has battled during the 2020 playoffs. The defending champions swept the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, but the second round was a different story. Boston jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against the Raptors, and it looked as though Boston was going to take a 3-0 lead, but the magic started to happen for the Raptors. With 0.5 seconds left in Game 3, the Raptors were trailing 103-101. They needed to win to prevent a 3-0 series lead for Boston.
Toronto inbounded the ball with half a second left, and OG Anunoby caught the ball and shot it quickly and watched the ball go in to give Toronto the victory. The Raptors needed that win, and they were able to tie the series up at 2-2. Boston won Game 5 and was one win away from taking the series. Game 6 was an epic battle, and it took two overtimes to decide a winner. The Raptors found a way to pull out the victory and force a Game 7. So here the Raptors are again in the same position as they were last year. The Raptors control their own destiny of making it back to the NBA Finals to defend their title, and it starts with Game 7 against the Boston Celtics in the Conference Semifinals.