Ben Simmons’ honest thoughts on Kawhi Leonard’s iconic playoff shot vs. Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons can still remember the 2019 playoffs like it was yesterday. After all, the Sixers were just one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals, only to be denied by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors.
Speaking with Rachel Nichols on The Jump, Simmons recalled the heartbreaking moment and admitted that it taught him how difficult it is to win in the NBA, particularly in the playoffs.
“That one shot with Kawhi against the Raptors, that was tough. But that was an experience where it made me think, ‘It’s not easy to win,’ especially when it comes to playoffs,” the Sixers star reflected.
To recall, in Game 7 of the East Semifinals between the Raptors and Sixers, Kawhi Leonard drained the buzzer-beating game-winner. With just four seconds remaining and the game tied at 90-all, Leonard drove to the right wing and pulled up for the jumper–only to see the ball bounce around the rim before falling at the buzzer.
Here’s another look at the iconic play:
The Raptors carried the momentum, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the East Finals before taking down the mighty Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons and the Sixers went home to Philly with broken hearts.
Two years later though, it looks like the Sixers have grown from that experience and have become a better team this 2020-21 campaign. Philly is currently the top seed in the East with a 37-17 record–with Simmons running for Defensive Player of the Year and Joel Embiid being considered for the MVP award.