It was on May 12th, 2019, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The two teams had battled each other to a stalemate after two weeks of some of the most insane smashmouth basketball this city has ever seen. Yes, their playoff series featured a few blowouts, but when the games were close — e.g. Games 2, 4, and 7 — they were far beyond the usual intensity. The stakes were high, the play was tight, and we were all nervous as hell. I don’t like to use this word lightly, yet it fits: Game 7 of Raptors vs. Sixers in Toronto was a war.
So then, it’s easy for every Raptors fan, most denizens of Toronto, indeed millions of people in Canada, to recall where exactly they were in the dying seconds of Game 7. The moment that will forever live in Toronto lore as... The Shot.
I don’t know about you, but I still get chills from every single second of that clip.
(And for the record, here’s my memory of the moment: I was sitting at the far end of the media gondola near the opposing basket and next to HQ editor Sean Woodley. We both watched and waited for what felt like an eternity as that ball bounced around the rim. It took long enough to go in that I had already decided The Shot had missed and we were heading to an excruciating overtime period. For that positive turn of fortune alone, this becomes, truly, the most astounding moment in Raptors’ basketball history.)
This is a decidedly long preamble, but now we’ve come to the point: the Raptors and Sixers meet once again this Monday for the first time since that fateful moment. It makes the game noteworthy, important, special, and whichever other descriptor you care to apply.
Much has happened since The Shot went in. In Toronto, the Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championship, lost Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, suffered injuries to two of the key players from that title team, and are now in the process of discovering a new identity; for Philly, the Sixers reshaped their roster, somehow got even bigger in the process, and seem hellbent on making it to the Finals for the first time since 2001. The context may be wildly different now — but don’t think The Shot won’t be mentioned in the days leading up to the game and during the event itself. There’s also zero chance it’s not on the mind of Joel Embiid, the Sixers centre who appeared to take the Game 7 defeat the hardest. He could very well be on the warpath come Monday night. Can the Raptors slow him down once again?
In case you needed another reason to care: the Raptors and Sixers currently rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Eastern Conference. A collision course between these two teams may yet be plotted beyond the events of Monday night. Time to get in on the ground floor all over again.
As you may have noticed, this is not the normal game preview we have for a typical regular season contest. This one’s a bit more significant. As an added bonus, this Raptors vs. Sixers game also comes packaged with ticket deals from StubHub that we’re offering here on Raptors HQ. The game details are below — plus a link to where you can buy tickets.
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
When: Monday, November 25th at 7:30pm EST
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