Who would be the lucky team to nab Duke's Zion Williamson? It was an eventful week in the United States as the question many people had been asking for months was just about answered.

This was almost more pressing than anything going on in the NBA playoffs despite Kawhi Leonard's dramatics in the final moments of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

The team who won the NBA Draft lottery was a surprise and made the story even more compelling.

All that and more this week in US Sports.

 

1. The Pelicans may be losing one star but adding another

The prize of the lottery was Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans were the lucky team to earn the right to draft him, getting the top pick in the upcoming draft.

The Memphis Grizzlies will pick second and the New York Knicks – who Williamson reportedly wanted to go to – will pick third.

This creates an interesting scenario as Pelicans star Anthony Davis still does not want to re-sign with the team, but New Orleans' new executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin is not giving up on bringing him back.

The next couple of months in the NBA will be a lot of fun and that entertainment once again has nothing to do with what is going on on the floor.

2. Lakers finally get their man

The Lakers have a new coach and his name is Frank Vogel.

The former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach was hired by the Lakers this week after Luke Walton agreed to mutually part ways last month.

But, even with the signing of a new coach, there is still drama in Los Angeles as the Lakers hired Jason Kidd to be a prominent assistant on Vogel's staff.

It has already led to speculation as to just how long Vogel will be at the helm.

 

3. 76ers stick with the status quo

There will be no major shakeup on the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching staff after they fell in seven games to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

It was reported that Brett Brown would likely be fired if Philadelphia did not win Game 7 on Sunday, but on Monday, the 76ers announced they were bringing Brown back.

The coach has amassed a 178-314 record in six years with the team, but has also been at the helm for Philadelphia's last two playoff runs in which they won a combined 103 games over the past two seasons.

Now the question for Philadelphia becomes is who they can bring back? Do Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler re-sign with the team? That remains to be seen.

4. Yankees health gets a boost, takes another hit

The New York Yankees finally got some reinforcements this week as Aaron Hicks made his return to the lineup, but that did not come without a bit of bad news as well.

Miguel Andujar is all but officially done for the season as he has elected to undergo surgery on the torn labrum in his right shoulder.

So the Yankees got some help but also permanently lost a player for the season.

 

5. Edwin Jackson sets MLB record

This is one of the weirder records in MLB history, but it is still a pretty cool one.

The Oakland Athletics traded starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Blue Jays this week and when Jackson made his start with Toronto, he became the first pitcher in history to pitch for 14 different organisations.

Jackson passed Octavio Dotel for the MLB record and, at 35 years old, he still has some time to add to that number.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will feature for Australia at the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The 76ers' NBA season came to an end with a thrilling loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

In a video posted on Weibo, Simmons announced he would be representing the Boomers in China.

"I'm happy to say I'm looking forward to representing my country Australia in the upcoming @FIBA World Cup in China," he wrote on the post.

Australia are scheduled to face the United States in August before the World Cup begins.

They will meet Canada, Senegal and Lithuania in Group H at the World Cup, with their first game on September 1.

Philadelphia 76ers duo Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris discussed their futures with the NBA team as they approach free agency.

Butler and Harris are expected to be unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Both discussed their upcoming decisions when they met with reporters on Monday, one day after the 76ers fell to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series.

"Hopefully I'll get a max contract anywhere I choose to go," Butler told reporters, via NBC Sports Philadelphia.

"You always want to be able to win, I think that's key for sure. You're looking at coaches, you're looking at the city. There's a lot that goes into it."

The 76ers acquired Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves in mid-November in exchange for a package centred around Dario Saric and Robert Covington.

Butler averaged 18.2 points in 55 regular-season appearances for Philadelphia and increased that number to 19.4 points per game in the playoffs.

"For me, as long as I got my people with me, they're happy, they're smiling and we're waking up knowing we're getting to work in an environment where we're having fun ... but I'm a long way away from that," Butler said. "I'm not too focused on that right now."

Philadelphia traded for Harris this season, as well, as they added him in a deadline deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 26-year-old has bounced around the NBA and has played for five teams in eight seasons, averaging 15.4 points while shooting 36.4 per cent from three-point range in 546 career games.

"There's only so many players that are super stable in the NBA, let's just be upfront with that," Harris said about his approach to free agency. "For me honestly, style of play is a huge thing. Culture. A chance to be able to win. Just being in the playoffs here and getting that feeling and seeing how bad that loss [to the Raptors] felt."

Harris has been linked to the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Philadelphia 76ers have some important decisions to make this offseason.

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard ended Philadelphia's NBA season with a Game 7 buzzer-beater in Sunday's Eastern Conference semi-final decider.

Now, the 76ers must figure out what is best for their future.

"The process" is not quite complete, so here are three questions Philadelphia need to answer during the offseason:

 

What's the best way to solidify the backcourt?

The 76ers need to address their lack of guard depth. Philadelphia once had a collection of prospects looking to establish a role in the rotation. But now, Ben Simmons and Zhaire Smith are the only guards on the books for 2019-20.

Prolific sharpshooter JJ Redick is an unrestricted free agent. While Philadelphia could try to retain his services, they need ball-handlers.

The 76ers got virtually nothing from reserve guards like T.J. McConnell, Jonathan Simmons and 2018 first-round pick Smith during the postseason. Jimmy Butler often operated as the team's backup point guard in the second unit for Philadelphia, but he and Tobias Harris could move on in the coming months.

Without role players they can trust to create for themselves and others, the 76ers could experience a significant decline. Especially if they cannot match this year's star power.

 

Who should get offered a max deal?

Philadelphia traded notable pieces to land top talents Butler and Harris. Among these were Defensive Player of the Year candidate Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz and Landry Shamet.

The 76ers' win-now attitude allowed them to feature one of the most dangerous starting line-ups in the NBA this season. But injuries, specifically to Joel Embiid (knee), limited their repetitions together in the regular season.

Now both Butler and Harris could enter free agency this offseason. Butler has a player option for the 2019-20 season while Harris is an unrestricted free agent. Should Philadelphia offer one or both of these players a max deal?

Butler's grittiness fit the city's culture and provided the young 76ers with a cold-blooded finisher at the end of games. Harris flourished at times, but often waned in the postseason.

If Philadelphia do not fork out the big bucks, both could become one-year rentals, and that could set the 76ers back a few years. The risk was necessary to become a contender, but it could backfire in a big way.

 

Can Simmons and Embiid co-exist?

I know what you are thinking. How could having two All-Stars under the age of 26 be a problem?

Philadelphia's years of poor performance helped them land two generational talents in Simmons and Embiid. But they might have to part ways with one for their own good.

Simmons is a 6-10 point guard with effortless playmaking ability, and Embiid is arguably one of the most talented and versatile big men of all time. However, a few problems need to be addressed.

Simmons' lack of a jump shot and willingness to take over games has come into question as of late. Embiid can go toe-to-toe with any player, but he has missed 88 games through three NBA seasons.

Should the 76ers put money into retaining Butler and Harris, they could dig themselves into a deep hole. Simmons and Embiid have valuable skill sets, but the combination of their playing styles provides little floor spacing at the moment.

Now could be the time to jump and fetch a high price on the open market as they approach their primes.

The city of Philadelphia is restless as it awaits an NBA championship, and one mistake could derail the 76ers progress toward that goal.

Brett Brown will return as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers next NBA season, according to managing partner Josh Harris.

Brown's future was reportedly in doubt following the 76ers' heartbreaking Eastern Conference semi-final loss to the Toronto Raptors, who won Game 7 thanks to Kawhi Leonard's buzzer-beater on Sunday.

However, Harris told ESPN on Monday that Brown will be coaching the 76ers in 2019-20 following a meeting, which included general manager Elton Brand.

Brown's return is good news for, among others, 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid – who was furious about the rumours surrounding his coach.

"I heard about all these rumours and stuff and I just thought it was bull****," Embiid said during exit interviews on Monday. "He's done a fantastic job. He's been there through everything and this year I think he grew even more as a coach. He learned, we all learned."

"At the end of the day, it comes down to the players. I don't think he should have anything to worry about," Embiid continued. "He's an amazing coach, a better person, and obviously, I've got a lot of love for him. If there was someone to blame, put it all on me."

Brown assumed the 76ers top post in 2013, and after several lean years with an undermanned squad that gave rise to the phrase, "Trust the process," Brown led the 76ers to 52 wins in 2017-18 and 51 this season.

The 58-year-old also oversaw an Eastern Conference semi-final defeat against rivals the Boston Celtics last season.

Joel Embiid labelled rumours over head coach Brett Brown's future as "bull****" following the Philadelphia 76ers' elimination from the NBA playoffs.

The 76ers suffered a gut-wrenching 92-90 Game 7 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

There have been reports that Brown would no longer be in Philadelphia if the 76ers lost the Eastern Conference semi-finals, but All-Star Embiid passionately defended the 58-year-old on Monday — less than 24 hours after Kawhi Leonard hit a buzz-beater to end the team's season.

"I was off social media. ... I heard about all those rumours and stuff," Embiid told the media. "and I just thought it was bull****.

"He's done a fantastic job. He's been there through everything."

The New York Times noted that while there is uncertainty regarding free agents like Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick, for Brown to remain with the 76ers he would need "an NBA Finals berth to keep his job."

The report added Brown "has little chance of surviving a second-round exit."

Butler, who is facing pending free agency, had worked under Brown for just six months following his arrival from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but said the sixth-year head coach has "a huge heart."

"He's a great dude and he works incredibly hard, so you gotta respect that about him." Butler said. "He's always of how he can make everybody great, which is hard to do whenever you have a roster like we have/had. I think he's going to be here for a long time."

Philadelphia are 178-315 since Brown took over the 76ers in 2013-14.

After four consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, Brown led the 76ers to the conference semi-finals the past two seasons following last year's defeat to the Boston Celtics.

Nick Nurse believes the Toronto Raptors will have to improve if they are to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Raptors went seven games with the Philadelphia 76ers but ended on a high, winning 92-90 on Sunday thanks to Kawhi Leonard's landmark buzzer-beater.

That victory booked a date with the Bucks, the top seed in the NBA, boasting MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and able to rest up since knocking out the Boston Celtics in five games.

Coach Nurse acknowledged the scale of Toronto's task, believing they must alter their game, recover quickly and perform better in order to prevail.

"It's a totally different style than we've just been through in our last two series," Nurse told a news conference.

"These were set-play teams, pretty methodical on offense, going to come down and look at things, run stuff for certain guys.

"It's not to say Milwaukee doesn't do that, too, but they'd much rather spread the floor, give it to a guy to put their head down and take it to the rim, then put it in the rim.

"If you send help, they're going to fire it out and shoot a ton of threes.

"It's a little different style that we're going to see and we're going to have to adjust to that really quickly. We have to forget about how happy we are pretty quickly, because it's a hungry team, a very deep team, a very good team.

"We're going to have to continue to grow and we're going to have to play better."

The Raptors head to Milwaukee for Game 1 on Wednesday.

Kawhi Leonard said he planned to "leave it all out on the floor" for the Toronto Raptors in Game 7, desperate to ensure this was not the end of his season.

Raptors star Leonard produced a stunning buzzer-beater in the second-round series decider against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, stealing a sensational 92-90 win after the ball bounced four times on the rim before dropping.

Leonard ended on 41 points with 16-of-39 from the field, insisting afterwards that missed shots were not his concern as he looked to do everything to inspire his team.

"I knew it was Game 7 and I didn't want to leave any shots in my mind," Leonard told a news conference. "I just wanted to go out and leave it all on the floor.

"This could have been my last game for the season - I would have had to wait four months, five months to put another shot up in a game.

"I was going to leave it all out on the floor tonight, not worried about makes or misses, just trying to will us to a win and get to my spots."

It was the first Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history and Leonard was delighted to be able to "feel that moment".

"It was great. That's something I've never experienced before, Game 7, game-winning shot," he said. "It was a blessing to be able to get to that point, make that shot and feel that moment. It's something I can look back on in my career.

"Probably the last time you've seen me scream was when we won [the 2014 title with the San Antonio Spurs].

"Whenever there is a moment I haven't really experienced, I try to show some emotion and let it just come out. Tonight was one of those nights, where I'd never been in that situation before.

"It's the first time somebody hit a game-winner in Game 7, so I just showed emotion and it was a great feeling. I'm just happy that we can move onto the next round."

The Raptors begin their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Joel Embiid struggled to explain his playoff heartbreak after the Philadelphia 76ers were beaten by Kawhi Leonard's sensational Game 7 buzzer-beater.

The Sixers took Leonard and the Toronto Raptors the distance in their Eastern Conference semi-final series but fell to a 92-90 defeat in the decider on the road, with the crucial last-second shot bouncing four times on the rim before dropping in.

Embiid appeared to be crying after the game and he found it difficult to later expand on his emotions.

"Game 7, losing a game that way, last shot, after a hard-fought game, I felt like we had a chance," he told a news conference.

"A lot of things go through your mind. It sucks. I can't explain it, it just sucks."

He added on Raptors star Leonard: "He's a great player, obviously. He did his thing. You've got to give him credit. He made some tough shots the whole series. They leaned on him heavily."

Jimmy Butler, Embiid's team-mate, similarly could only praise Leonard for his role in an incredible series.

"He hit a tough one. You tip your hat to that," he said. "He's an incredible player - you know it, we all know it. There isn't too much more you can say about it."

Butler is now a free agent but was not interested in igniting speculation so soon after a painful loss.

He said: "I'm not worried about that right now right after losing. I don't want to talk about anything else except for basketball."

Kawhi Leonard scored one of the most dramatic buzzer-beaters in NBA history to cap an incredible performance and lead the Toronto Raptors to a 92-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 on Sunday.

With the score tied at 90, the Raptors inbounded the ball with four seconds left. Leonard, who scored a game-high 41 points, took the ball, dribbled into the corner and nailed the game-winning two-pointer over Joel Embiid.

The ball bounced four times on the rim before dropping through, as Toronto fans erupted.

The Raptors will now face the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

Here are three takeaways from the Raptors' huge win:

Is there any NBA player more important to his team than Leonard?

Think of the top players in the NBA, from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant to Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Embiid.

Are any of them more valuable to their team than Leonard is to the Raptors?

While Leonard can keep pace with any of the aforementioned players on the offensive end (he is averaging 31.8 points in the playoffs), he creates so many problems for Raptors' opponents on defense. Twice in the first half, Leonard stole the ball and took it down the court to finish with a dunk. 

Leonard stepped up time and time again when Toronto needed him most. Down the stretch, he scored 13 of the Raptors' last 15 points in the final six minutes, including a long jumper that broke an 85-85 tie.

And then he hit the game-winner. Leonard did not have a great shooting performance (16 of 39 from the field) but he came up big when it counted.

No one wants to talk about the obvious after such a thrilling finish, but Leonard, of course, is eligible for free agency in the offseason. As he showed on Sunday, Toronto need him back.

 

Serge Ibaka played critical role off the bench

As Leonard carried the Raptors during Game 7, everyone watching wondered: Would someone, anyone else, step up for Toronto?

Serge Ibaka answered the call. The 29-year-old center scored 17 points off the bench, and knocked down three of his five three-point attempts.

Ibaka came into the game averaging only 8.3 points in the playoffs. He could not have picked a better time to come alive off the bench. If the Raptors hope to beat the Bucks and advance to the NBA Finals, they will need more contributions from everyone on the roster not named Kawhi. The other four starters hit 12 of 35 shots and scored a combined 30 points against the 76ers. That cannot continue.

The NBA regular season really does matter

How many times during the regular season do we hear fans utter the cliché: "The regular season doesn't matter – our team will be totally ready when the playoffs begin."

But regular-season wins can create a huge advantage in the postseason. The Raptors, who finished second in the Eastern Conference, had the home-court advantage over the 76ers, who finished third. And that advantage showed in Game 7. The Toronto fans in Scotiabank Arena were vocal and enthusiastic most of the game. They went silent when the 76ers sucked the life out of the building with a 16-0 second-half run, but the fans came alive down the stretch.

The 76ers won two of three games against Toronto in Philadelphia, both by healthy margins. Just imagine if Game 7 had been in Philly. Would the outcome have been different? It is not a stretch to think playing at home might have been worth at least three points for Philadelphia.

Kawhi Leonard felt he got the "shooter's bounce" for his incredible game-winner for the Toronto Raptors against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Leonard's buzzer-beater saw the Raptors edge to a 92-90 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

While he starred with 41 points, Leonard got some luck for the game-winner, which bounced on the rim four times before dropping in.

"I felt great. I was just [saying] that we work on that every day. I was driving base line," he told ESPN.

"I missed the last one short so I just wanted to put it up in the air and got the shooter's bounce."

Leonard added: "Just a lot of hard work, just went into my shot, I just shot it as high as I could.

"I got some loft on it and it made the ball bounce soft and it ended up going in. I was disappointed missing that free throw [earlier] so I really wanted to make that shot."

The Raptors will face the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, with Game 1 in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Kawhi Leonard delivered to see the Toronto Raptors to a thrilling win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA playoffs on Sunday.

Leonard had 41 points, eight rebounds and a ridiculous game-winning jump shot as the Raptors edged the 76ers 92-90 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

He dominated the 76ers in Game 7 on Sunday and hit possibly the most improbable jump shot in NBA history.

With the game tied at 90 with 4.2 seconds left, the Raptors got one last shot and Leonard put it up from the corner.

It bounced once, twice, three times and rolled in to give Toronto a 92-90 win.

In Denver, it was not Damian Lillard's night.

The Trail Blazers' best player was three of 17 from the floor in Game 7 and Portland needed more.

Fortunately, they had it in the form of CJ McCollum, who dropped 37 points to lead the team to a 100-96 win over the Nuggets and a berth in the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors.

McCollum finished his night 17-of-29 from the floor with nine rebounds and iced the game late with a beautiful mid-range jumper in the face of Torrey Craig.

 

Tremendous Turner

Evan Turner scored 14 points, but more importantly was eight of nine from the free-throw line, including several big ones down the stretch for Portland.

 

Misery for Murray

Jamal Murray had a good line with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, but four-of-18 shooting and 0 for four from beyond the arc is not what Denver needed in an elimination game.

 

Leonard, McCollum produce highlights

Of all the people to posterise an opponent, Meyers Leonard was probably low on the list of players expected to do it.

McCollum produced a chase-down block.

Trail Blazers at Warriors

The Warriors made a statement by getting a Game 6 win over the Houston Rockets without Kevin Durant. Game 1 against Portland is on Tuesday.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers forced Game 7's in their respective Conference semi-finals.

In Portland, the Trail Blazers took down the Denver Nuggets 119-108 to even the Western Conference series 3-3 and set up a Game 7 in Denver on Sunday.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard starred 32 points and CJ McCollum added 30 in the NBA playoff clash on Thursday.

Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Denver's loss on the road.

Earlier on Thursday, the 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 112-101 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference.

Jimmy Butler had 25 points, Ben Simmons posted 21, Joel Embiid put up 17 and Tobias Harris finished with 16 as the 76ers forced a deciding seventh game in Toronto.

The team that wins Game 7 will play the Milwaukee Bucks – who defeated the Boston Celtics 4-1 – in the Eastern Conference finals.

 

Kawhi shines again

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the Raptors' loss.

 

Gasol struggles in Philadelphia

Marc Gasol just has not worked out for the Raptors this year as he recorded seven points and three rebounds on eight of eight shooting.

 

No stopping Lillard

Lillard was in the mood as he helped the Trail Blazers avoid elimination in the west.

 

Warriors at Rockets

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. Do not sleep on Golden State without Durant, though. This team won 73 games without him in 2015-16 and are more than capable of winning one of the next two games, including Game 6.

Brett Brown said Ben Simmons showed why he was an "NBA All-Star at age 22" as the Philadelphia 76ers head coach lauded the Australian's performance in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Simmons had been heavily criticised prior to Thursday's clash but the 76ers guard put up 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Philadelphia forced Game 7 with a 112-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

The 22-year-old managed just seven points in a blowout loss in Game 5 but with the 76ers facing elimination, Simmons responded in 34 impressive minutes, which did not include a turnover.

"I thought he was excellent and we needed it all," Brown told reporters of Simmons post-game. "He's 22 years old. His game, as he grows his shot and tries to get a better command of his position, and deals with the stage of the NBA Playoffs, shame on us for thinking he's gonna be like all day, every day, here he is and he's gonna go knock it out of the park.

"It's just not fair. What he did today was lots of the reasons he was an NBA All-Star at age 22, as an NBA point guard with the ball."

Brown added: "He was our bell ringer tonight. You see Jimmy Butler's performance, and so for Ben to be our bell ringer with some of those other performances sort of confirms what I think he did tonight."

Butler – Philadelphia's leading scorer with 25 points – also heaped praise on Simmons, who had not posted more than 10 points in the second-round series before Thursday.

"He attacked in transition, in the half, he made some free throws," said Butler. "That's how we need him to be.

"You can't key in on just one or two guys on this team, because we have so many guys who can put the ball in the basket. We have so many guys who can get a stop and go take off dribbling with the basketball.

"Like I said before, that's how we're going to win. When he's aggressive, when Tobias [Harris] is aggressive. It gives us a greater chance of winning."

Butler set the tone for the 76ers in the first half, scoring 19 points as the soon-to-be free agent showed why he will command a max contract in the offseason.

"I play to win," Butler said, with Game 7 in Toronto on Sunday. "Right now, this is what I have to do in order to give us a great chance at winning."

The Philadelphia 76ers forced a deciding Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors in their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final.

After being blown away in Toronto, the 76ers eased past the Raptors 112-101 in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler led the 76ers on home court as Philadelphia earned a chance to go back to Canada and fight for the right to play the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference finals.

Here are three takeaways from the 76ers' series-levelling victory:

 

1. Butler decided 76ers wouldn't lose

There are certain players in the NBA who can will their teams to wins no matter how his counterparts are playing. Butler can often be one of those guys and he was just that in Game 6.

While Butler did not go off for 50 points or completely shut down Kawhi Leonard, he closed out the first half with a flurry of buckets, which gave Philadelphia a 15-point lead going into the break and completely set the tone for the final 24 minutes.

Butler finished with 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists, but his energy was palpable in the win on Thursday. If he shows up and plays with that same kind of intensity in Game 7, the 76ers will win this series.

 

2. Why would Kawhi re-sign with Raptors?

We are legitimately asking this question — why would Leonard re-sign with the Raptors after watching the way this series has gone?

Leonard has been his typical otherworldly self in these games, averaging 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, but his team-mates have been AWOL for much of the time.

Kyle Lowry — the Raptors' $33-million man — has been particularly suspect throughout the playoffs as he was averaging 12.6 points on 42.1 per cent shooting (28 per cent from the three-point line) coming into Thursday's game.

In Game 6, the Raptors got 23 points off the bench — and a good portion of that (nine points) came from Serge Ibaka — while the rest came in garbage time.

If Leonard is not going to get support in Toronto, there is not much incentive for him to come back, so honestly why would he?

 

3. A significant number

In basketball, people always like to talk about how things players do does not show up on the scoresheet. Joel Embiid is not typically one of those players as he is one of the most productive big men in basketball. In Game 6, however, his game was about what he did that most people will not see.

While he is not 100 per cent, he controlled the paint for much of the game as Philadelphia dominated the contest in points scored there. Embiid's defense also proved especially disruptive all over the floor.

He had a good night points-wise, but where his worth truly showed up was in his plus-minus. He finished the night plus-40, which was 11 points more than any other player and 25 more than any other starter. And this came on a night where he scored just 15 points and added 12 rebounds.

Embiid was great in Game 6, even if he might now have appeared to have been at his most productive.

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