Here he comes, Philadelphia.
Jimmy Butler makes his home debut for the Sixers Friday night vs. the Utah Jazz.
Here’s a closer look at the matchup.
• Butler had a quiet but solid debut for the Sixers. He finished the game with 14 points (6 of 12 shooting) and showed a little of his elite defensive ability.
The end result was obviously not what the team or Butler wanted, but you did see signs that this thing could work (see story). The two-man game with Butler and Joel Embiid looked intriguing (see film review). Also, the starting five of Butler, Embiid, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick and Wilson Chandler moved the ball extremely well at times.
• I’m especially intrigued by Chandler after his performance in Orlando. He showed the first signs of life for any Sixer after that horrid 21-0 Magic run and helped get the team back on top briefly.
He finished with a season-high 14 points in 23 minutes. More importantly, it was the most spry the 31-year-old has looked since returning to the lineup from a hamstring strain. Chandler didn’t close out that game as Brett Brown still monitors his minutes. Hopefully Chandler will be let loose soon.
• There is a little concern over Simmons and Embiid fitting with Butler. The second-year point guard was very quiet in the loss Wednesday (nine points, six assists, three rebounds). You can blame some of that on Butler’s first game but he was pretty quiet in Miami as well (13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists). Embiid recorded his first triple-double, but was just 1 of 10 in the second half vs. the Magic. He also spent a great deal of time outside of the post.
The worry when the Sixers acquired Butler was about his fit, since most of his points come from inside the arc. It’s Brown’s task to try to make the pieces fit and get Simmons and Embiid going.
• The building will be electric for Butler’s debut but expect a hungry Jazz team to come out Friday night. Utah was embarrassed by the Mavericks in Dallas Wednesday, losing by 50(!) points, 118-68. The Jazz scored just 22 points in the second half. With that taste in their mouth, expect Donovan Mitchell and company to come out with their hair on fire.
• It’s been a bit of a struggle recently for Mitchell, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury of his own. The runner-up for last season’s Rookie of the Year has shot just 37 percent from the field and 26 percent from three over his last six games. In addition to the loss vs. the Mavericks, expect Mitchell to have a little extra motivation to spoil the evening for Simmons and company.
Here are the essentials for Butler’s debut.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Pregame Live starts at 6:30 p.m. EST)
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10, 220, No. 43
Jimmy Butler, F, 6-8, 236, No. 23
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225, No. 22
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260, No. 21
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200, No. 20
* Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200, No. 11
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240, No. 5
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185, No. 30
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190, No. 12
* Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205, No. 18
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240, No. 31
JJ Redick, G 6-4/195, No. 17 13
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190, No. 23
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230, No. 25
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200, No. 8
Justin Patton, C, 6-11/229, No. 0
* Two-way player
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