James G. Butler, you bad, bad man! With a three-point buzzer beater with less than a second remaining, Jimmy Butler has officially earned his Sixers stars. One shot will most likely define the game for many news outlets, but there were 53 minutes to break down in this one.
The Sixers came out of the gates hot, outscoring a rested Hornets team 42-30 in the first quarter, much to the surprise of many. It’s no secret the Sixers haven’t played great away from home, and especially on the second night of a back-to-back, it felt like an uphill climb heading into the game. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had other ideas though, as both brought their ‘A’ Game from the get-go. Embiid was dominant, scoring 18 points in the first frame, and Simmons helped out in just about every category on both offense and defense. The Hornets started to wake up in the second quarter and cut the Sixers’ lead to 6 at halftime.
Once again, it was the third quarter that gave Philadelphia problems. Nothing was falling and Sixers killer Kemba Walker was officially red hot. It didn’t help that the shot selection wasn’t great and the defense felt slow, but the Hornets made the Sixers pay. For the second night in a row, Joel Embiid wasn’t much help in the second half, but the other top options made sure that Philadelphia didn’t fall too far out of contention.
JJ Redick had another nice game back in the starting rotation, finishing with 23 points on 5-11 shooting from deep and coming up clutch down the stretch. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons had arguably his best game of the year. For much of the season, it felt like Simmons was just observing. Tonight was not one of those nights, as he was aggressive on offense and defense, making game-winning plays. The most important aspect of his game tonight? The free throw form looked great. A tucked elbow and a straightforward motion led to Simmons shooting 9-11 from the line and ending the game with a season-high 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. With all of the good, the Sixers still found themselves down 86-82 heading into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was the Kemba Walker show, as it felt like the Hornets point guard may never miss again. Even with 56 points, it wasn’t enough to carry his team to a win as the Sixers tied it up and forced overtime.
Another back-and-forth period in overtime had fans feeling nervous, but the demeanor of the team never seemed to change. In the end, a strong defensive stand resulted in an emphatic Jimmy Butler block and save, providing the Sixers one more shot to win the game.
Enter the Sixers’ newest star.
Jimmy Butler got the ball with ten seconds left on the clock, took his defender to the right side of the three-point line, and buried the game-winner with 0.3 seconds remaining. The Sixers finally have their closer, and his name is Jimmy Buckets. The three gave the Sixers a 122-119 win, improving their record to 11-7 on the season.
Most impressive lines from the night:
Joel Embiid: 33 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks
Ben Simmons: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists
Jimmy Butler: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks
Kemba Walker: 60 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Next up is a home date with the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. Sleep tight knowing that Jimmy Butler is a Philadelphia 76er, and always Trust The Process.