Ben Simmons was matter-of-fact as he described the stunning Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater that delivered the most devastating loss of his two-year NBA career .
"He's a great player and made a great shot," said Simmons, a diamond-encrusted boxing kangaroo pendant hanging from his neck.
Toronto Raptors superstar Leonard launched a high, fade-away jump shot from the corner to inflict a 92-90 win in Toronto and knock Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers out of the playoffs.
Adding to the drama, Leonard's shot bounced on the rim four times before dropping through the basket as time expired in the game seven series decider.
The Raptors advanced 4-3, booking a berth in the eastern conference finals with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
It was the second straight year Simmons and his 76ers were eliminated in the second round.
The latest early departure, despite one of the NBA's most-talented teams, sets up a precarious off-season for the 76ers with coach Brett Brown facing the axe, calls for Simmons to be traded, starters Tobias Harris and JJ Redick becoming free agents and All-Star Jimmy Butler likely to use the player option on his contract to test the free agent market.
"I'm not worried about none of that right now," said Butler, when asked about his future.
"It's tough. Nobody likes to lose, not that way."
Brown, a former NBL coach with the Sydney Kings and Melbourne Tigers, admitted his future in Philadelphia has been discussed with management, but he declined to tell reporters the details.
"Stuff like that we have talked internally a lot. The club can respond to that," said Brown, who has coached the 76ers since 2013.
Simmons signalled his desire for the team to stay together.
"We can compete with the best," the 22-year-old Australian said.
"Obviously we didn't have enough tonight, but I'm proud of our guys."
Leonard, a three-time All-Star and former NBA Finals MVP, had a monster game in the finale with 41 points from an incredible 39 field goal attempts.
He scored 13 of the Raptors' final 15 points.
Simmons had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Embiid, in tears as he left the court, led the 76ers with 21 points and 11 rebounds
Leonard and Simmons battled throughout the series at both ends of the court and with 4.2 seconds and the score tied 90-90 they came face-to-face.
Leonard took the ball, eluded Simmons, headed to just inside the three-point line near the Toronto bench and shot over the 76ers' 213cm tall centre Joel Embiid for the series clincher.
Brown said Simmons, eligible for a five-year $A220 million contract extension in July, will learn from the crushing loss and from jousting with Leonard.
"I think Ben's defensive effort and commitment to try and guard Kawhi Leonard will serve him well," Brown said.
"It will be a memory that will better shape his approach and understanding of playoff basketball."
Game one of the eastern conference finals is in Milwaukee on Thursday (AEST).
The western conference finals are also set.
The Portland Trail Blazers, led by CJ McCollum's 37 points, eliminated the Denver Nuggets on Monday to set up a clash with Andrew Bogut's defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Portland overcame a 17-point first-half deficit to beat the Nuggets 100-96 in Denver to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
Game one is on Wednesday (AEST) in Oakland.
Portland's star Damian Lillard had an awful shooting night, making just three of 17 shots for 13 points, although two of them were crucial three-pointers in the fourth quarter.