Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and unfortunately for Joel Embiid, he was on the wrong end of that old adage Sunday night.
Embiid played near-perfect defense as Kawhi Leonard pulled up for a corner fadeaway with time expiring in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Scotiabank Arena. But Leonard and the Toronto Raptors got the bounces, and Embiid was forced to stand and watch as the basketball dropped through the net and ended the Philadelphia 76ers’ season.
It was a heart-wrenching way to go out for Embiid and the Sixers, and the nature of the defeat was reflected in the big man’s emotion as he made his way back to the locker room following Leonard’s heroics.
The sting of Sunday’s loss might not ever go away for Embiid, but Philadelphia coach Brett Brown believes the 25-year-old will be better for it.
The 76ers now will embark on summer vacation. The Raptors, meanwhile, are on to the Eastern Conference finals, where they’ll meet Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.