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Notable Quotes from Sixers vs. Celtics

NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler

On working with the unit…

I’m good, I think we’re all in a good place. We’re out there just having fun, just hooping. Obviously it’s more fun to win than to lose. I think everyone’s in a good spot.

On evolving into the closer…

They put the ball in my hands in the fourth and tell me to make plays and make shots. I think as of lately I‘ve been doing a good job of that, but that could be anybody to tell you the truth. With as many weapons that we have on this team, anybody can get the hot hand, anybody can put the ball in the basket. Just, the last few nights have been me.

On feeling the importance of the win against this rival tonight…

Hell yeah. I haven’t beat these guys yet since I’ve been here. Jo [Embiid] was so excited to be able to compete against these guys and I know how much this game meant to him. But like I said earlier, in order to consider yourself a really good team you have to beat those really good teams. They’re one of them. I’ve got a really good feeling we’ll probably see those guys sometime down the road.

Joel Embiid

On what this win meant to him personally…

One of the things that I’ve been watching during the games, I’ve kind of shied away from being physical, but tonight from watching film, I just knew that I had to come out and be extra physical and set the tone and I’m glad we got the win.

On the crowd…

Everybody knows that I play better when the crowd is involved, so that energy was definitely good for us.

On Jimmy Butler in the fourth quarter…

I told him that I needed him tonight, that I needed this win and he told me to get him to the fourth and he was going to take over. That’s all I tried to do and obviously in the fourth, he’s our best closer. [We’ve] Got to put the ball in his hands in the fourth and I’m going to do my thing whenever I have the ball, but that was my job tonight and he showed up and in the fourth; he was fantastic.

JJ Redick

On what the starting five are capable of…

Sure, I still think we’re trying to figure things out a little bit and I think we all sort of how to learn, I think just the flow of the game at times is a little different than some of us, I would say me too, we can go five or six possessions without really touching the ball, but yet you look up and we’re like, “Oh we have 62 at halftime,” not tonight, I’m saying just in general. Those are sort of the things we’ve just got to keep sort of learning about playing together because I think the talent is there and there’s a real chance for cohesiveness because I do think our skillsets complement each other.

On what they need to work on the most over the next three weeks…

Sure, I mean defensively, communication probably is the biggest thing and then just continuing to evolve our execution offensively.

Ben Simmons

On the comparisons between last year leading up to the playoffs and this year…

I mean it’s a whole new team so not really, I mean I know where you’re going, but we’ve got to see how we finish. I think we’re heading in the right direction.

Brett Brown

On the responsibility Joel Embiid takes on…

I mean where do you begin? Look at his rebounds, look at his free-throw attempts and then look at the free-throws made, for a 7’2 center, anybody, that is an impressive stat. I think the responsibility and sort of the weight given his history with this organization, certainly he’s aware of, I think he embraces it and tonight he showed in many ways just how much it means to him and I respect his tenacity. If you’re going to beat Boston, we can talk about things, defensive schematics on Kyrie [Irving] or Al [Horford] or whatever, you got to do this offensively, ultimately there is physicality and a mental and physical sort of mindset you have to have to win. They’re a physical team, they’re good and I thought we found something different in the second half after going through some uncertainty at stages, in the first half especially.

On Jimmy Butler

There is a sort of spirit and a personality that you can see emerges too in that situation, that fourth-period situation. I mean he was a man tonight, he was an adult, he had swagger. He had just sort of this belief that he was going to find a way to score or get other people involved and you could feel it, I could see it, and we put him in environments and he delivered and toward the end Tobias [Harris] and Jimmy, a lot of pick-and-rolls, and for different reasons, and they responded well. I thought those two guys connected well when it mattered most.

Brad Stevens

On the loss…

I thought they got us a couple of times at the rim where we probably need to hold our ground better at the rim or in the paint, but then Jimmy [Butler] made big plays at the end of the game. He really made a ton of shots and a ton of plays. And on the other end, we came up a little bit dry, but I thought for the most part we battled and it was a heck of a basketball game. They did a great job. We’ve talked about the physicality of their team and we have to match that with more bodies and so that impacted us I thought. They did a great job.

On Joel Embiid…

Embiid was determined to get to the front of the rim from the get-go and I thought after the first, he drew the foul out on Al [Horford] early. I thought we did a good job holding our ground on a couple of times. I thought Baynes’ charge, I thought Morris when he got switched onto him, did a good job, I thought Al did a good job, but he’s a tough guy to guard. Especially when he really gets to the rim like that. Again, that’s a heck of a basketball team; they deserve a lot of credit and Jimmy Butler’s plays at the end made a huge difference.

I regrettably did not transcribe Joel Embiid’s post-game interview with ESPN. Usually, those are fluffy and you rarely hear anything insightful. However, Joel talked about how he understands his role as carrying the team to the 4th Quarter, with what I felt was an implication that the closer duties are then passed off, and of course we can assume that is to Jimmy Butler.

The idea that Butler has taken on closer duties isn’t groundbreaking — it is very, very obvious to anyone watching the games. But the fact that Joel embraces the idea of carrying the team to that point is very interesting.

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