A year after Kawhi Leonard hit a soul-crushing Game 7 game-winning baseline jumper over the Philadelphia 76ers, Pascal Siakam can still vividly recall the anxiety and tension while that shot went up in the air.
With the Raptors' entire season on the line, Pascal Siakam watched as Leonard put up a fadeaway jumper over the outstretched arm of 7-footer Joel Embiid. To this day, he can recall every thought that went through his head while the ball was airborne.
Via Thomas Ketko of SportsNet:
“I was on the floor just looking at the ball bounce and bounce,” Siakam told Ernie Johnson during Wednesday night’s #NBATogether, a Twitter livestream put together by the NBA. “I don’t know how many times, like you said maybe 12 times and go in.”
“I think the funniest part was, Serge was under the rim. And I think he wanted to go for the rebound. So the ball kept bouncing and Serge was trying to maybe jump for the rebound, and I’m looking at him like ‘Serge, please don’t jump.’ Please don’t jump. No goaltending, no nothing, we don’t want none of this.
“It was an incredible moment, man. I will always remember that moment. It felt fast but like, it was slow at the same time.”
Siakam's worries made sense for a lot of reasons. That said, Leonard's shot was momentous and perhaps one that will be shown during his Hall of Fame highlight reel someday. Not many stars have a chance to take, let alone make an all-or-nothing jumper like the one Leonard buried.
It's a shot Siakam and Serge Ibaka will tell their kids and friends about for years. Luckily for Ibaka, he didn't try to tip that shot, something that would have ruined an all-time classic.