Published by Gadiel Notelovitz, 17th November 2018 on foxsports.com.au
Ben Simmons was quiet in Jimmy Butler’s home debut for the Philadelphia 76ers.
A clutch layup, and then a perfect pass to Butler with 20 seconds left on the clock essentially iced the game for Philly as they downed the Utah Jazz 113-107.
Coming off a subpar performance in Butler’s first game against the Orlando Magic, Simmons again struggled to really find his place in a relatively disjointed Sixers perfromance; but came up big when it counted.
Simmons finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, before swapping jerseys with Dante Exum — his first NBA game against his compartiot — at the end of the game.
In his first appearance as a Sixer in front of his new home fans, Butler was the clear standout; putting up 28 points, seven assists, and three rebounds to help the Sixers improve to 10-7 on the season. Donovan Mitchell topscored with 31 points for Utah, but was just 13-for-35 from the field in a largely inefficient performance.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” Butler said post-game, before throwing some shade at his old Minnesota Timberwolves teammates.
“It’s so fun to win, it’s so much more fun to play with these guys.”
“Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them — they don’t take it personal — and they do their job.”
Butler described this Sixers roster as “talented” and “hard-working” and with a will to win that is “unmatchable”.
Referencing Simmons’ incredible assist in the dying moments of the game, Butler was full of praise: “When your point guard looks at you, and gives you one of those [a nod], just be prepared for the ball to come.
“He’s an incredible passer — his vision is unreal, and he knew it [the opportunity] was going to be there. I tip my hat to him.”
Philly got off to the perfect start against a Utah team fresh off a 50-point humiliation against the Dallas Mavericks; shooting 87 percent from the field in the first quarter to take an early 14-point lead.
But the Jazz are a hard team to put away, and a comeback by committee brought Quin Snyder’s men back into the game; Utah holding the lead for chunks of the fourth quarter.
Joel Embiid had 23 points and seven boards as he battled Rudy Gobert; the Cameroonian star dropping in a huge three with the Sixers down three with less than three minutes to go to keep them in it.
The Jazz offence ran through a hot-and-cold Mitchell at the death, and the second-year star simply couldn’t get it going, before Simmons’ late cameo, and two Embiid free throws gave Philly a six-point lead with 12.5 seconds to go; killing off any chance of a late Sixers collapse.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING, MARKELLE?
Markelle Fultz looks to have gotten rid of the hitch in his free-throw motion.
And yet, it’s somehow even weirder. The 2017 No. 1 pick, in his latest chance at the line against the Utah Jazz, looked to have added a juggle/bobble/hot potato aspect to his routine.
While it looked smoother in general; the idea of never really having control of the ball prior to release seems like an unsustainable approach to what has been a major cause of concern for Fultz and the Sixers.
He finished 2-for-4 from the line.