Jimmy Butler and the Heat close out the 76ers in Game 6

As soon as their playoff game ended on Thursday night, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat found Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers to kis...


As soon as their playoff game ended on Thursday night, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat found Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers to kiss him goodbye. The two stars were teammates in Philadelphia during the 2018-19 season, and there was a time when Butler thought he could stay in the city longer. The 76ers had other planshowever, and this slight remained with Butler.

Moments after kissing Embiid, Butler was asked what he said.

” That I like ; I’m proud of him,” Butler said in a TV interview. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’d still love to be on his team. I really like the Miami Heat, man. I’m happy to be here.

The Miami Heat are also thrilled.

In the three seasons since moving to South Philadelphia, Butler has led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals twice. The 76ers, who were close to advancing to the Conference Finals with Butler and Embiid, are still trying to figure out how to get past the second round.

On Thursday, Butler scored 32 points to help his Heat eliminate the 76ers with a 99-90 win in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series.

“He gets incredibly desperate in tight games or when he sees the light at the end of the tunnel to shut down a team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s not going to leave it up to chance. He saw the opportunity – ‘Hey, we have the opportunity to end this tonight’ – and he wasn’t going to let it go by seven o’clock.”

It was a match that seemed more lopsided than its final scoreline indicated. With 1 minute 8 seconds left and Miami leading by 14 points, the 76ers pulled their starters, leaving Embiid and James Harden to watch their end of the season from the bench.

The game capped a disappointing spring for the 76ers, who had hoped to compete for a championship this year after trading for Harden in February.

Harden looked disinterested at times as he committed four turnovers while contributing 11 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. After Philadelphia tied the series at 2-2, Harden said his teammates were only starting to gel in a way that could propel them to a championship. Two games later, they were eliminated.

Embiid, who had missed the first two games of the series with a concussion and an orbital fracture, played with that fracture still healing and a thumb injury starting in Game 3. He scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds on Thursday, but his injuries disappeared. the way for Butler to be the best player in the series.

“Jimmy has always been that for us in the playoffs,” Spoelstra told reporters before the game as he was pushed by Butler’s role. “All that is necessary. And it could be a different game for the game.

Butler is known for many things, not all of them flattering. On his best days, he offers a stifling defense and powerful attack, but he also has a reputation for irritating his teammates and coaches and forcing his way out of teams. He can work himself to exhaustion in the service of winning a game, or throw himself into a screaming fight in a small group on the sidelines.

That come in March, when he and Spoelstra had to be separated several times by other players and coaches. Spoelstra laughed it off after that game, attributing the moment to blazing rages over a loss.

In the playoffs, Butler showed his best side.

“Jimmy is a great competitor,” Spoelstra said Thursday. “I think he is one of the ultimate competitors in this profession. I think a lot of things get lost in translation.

Game 6 came on the third anniversary of a painful day in Philadelphia sports history. On May 12, 2019, the 76ers were tied with the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series when Kawhi Leonard, then with the Raptors, threw a final shot in front of the Raptors bench as time expired. The ball hit the rim in three different places before finally falling through the net, ending the 76ers’ season.

Butler was on the court that day, watching helplessly from the lane as Leonard’s shot danced around the rim and then fell, but he never had a chance to respond to it the following season. The 76ers were unwilling to make a long-term commitment to Butler, and he left that summer and joined the Heat on a sign-and-trade deal.

He carried Miami to the NBA Finals in the bubble in its first playoff run a year later, and now, after a first-round exit last year, he’s heading back to the conference finals after helping the Heat to post the best record in the East. Conference this season.

He also keeps score. After finishing his old team, Butler was caught on camera in Miami exclaiming, “Tobias Harris on me?”

Like Butler, Harris, who still plays for the 76ers, was acquired by Philadelphia in the 2018-19 season. But the 76ers signed Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract the same summer the team sent Butler to Miami.

Later, Butler spoke like a man at peace.

“Now I’m in my place,” he told reporters. “I guess, where I should have been a long time ago. A place where I am welcome.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Jimmy Butler and the Heat close out the 76ers in Game 6
Jimmy Butler and the Heat close out the 76ers in Game 6
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