There’s what you hope for out of a home debut and there’s what Jimmy Butler did.
Butler got off to an outstanding start and finished strong in leading the Sixers to a thrilling 113-107 win over the Utah Jazz in his first game with the team at a raucous Wells Fargo Center Friday night.
The Sixers improved to 10-7 and a perfect 8-0 at home. Butler and Joel Embiid combined for 21 points in the fourth to secure the win.
Here are observations from the win.
• In his home debut, Butler got off to a great start to say the least. Like in Orlando, the Sixers ran a play for Butler on their opening possession. Unlike against the Magic, Butler aggressively took the ball to the hole with a beautiful finish.
That's Jimmy, he's new in town.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2018
Butler getting the home crowd hyped up early with this fancy lil bucket. Sixers up, 5-2. pic.twitter.com/tKjZ6TodpA
After denying an entry pass to Rudy Gobert, chants of “Jim-my But-ler” filled the Wells Fargo Center. Butler promptly hit a three as the crowd then gave him a standing ovation.
They're already getting chants in at Wells Fargo Center...and Butler nails a triple. pic.twitter.com/jkVsRC3L5C— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2018
This place probably hasn’t been that loud since Markelle Fultz hit his first three in the opener.
Brett Brown has faced a ton of unfair criticism recently, but like him or not, you have to admit that his out of bounds plays over the last couple seasons have been exceptional.
Exhibit A with Butler.
Team work makes the dream work.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2018
Shamet feeds it to Butler for the flush. Sixers up, 54-49. pic.twitter.com/dqhL0bBeeP
Butler is definitely a complete basketball player. What caught my eye in this game was Butler’s ability to facilitate. He had seven assists, none prettier than this one.
INCOMING.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2018
Butler finds Simmons for the monster jam. Sixers holding an eight point lead in the third. pic.twitter.com/U0O5G1jVcD
Butler finished with 28 points on an impressive 12 of 15 from the field, including eight points in the fourth quarter.
• No matter how great Butler is, it’s clear that Embiid is the catalyst of this team. Embiid received a technical after picking up his second foul late in the second quarter. It appeared the officials got the call right on a moving screen from Embiid and the T was simply out of frustration.
It really hurt the Sixers as Embiid then picked up his fourth foul on the Jazz’s first possession of the second half and was removed from the game immediately. He didn’t return until the fourth. The team struggled without him on the floor as veteran Amir Johnson, despite going 2 of 3 from three, isn’t giving them enough off the bench.
Embiid came up huge in the fourth, scoring 13 of his 23 points in the final period.
• Ben Simmons had a bounce-back game of sorts. He looked more aggressive than in Butler’s debut in Orlando. He finished with 10 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
• There was more good and weird from Markelle Fultz Friday night. On his first touch, he came off a screen from Embiid and nailed a mid-range jumper. It looked confident and smooth.
That form is certainly new to me, but the shots themselves actually looked good. It appears that the more time Fultz has to think, the worse his shot gets. He finished 2 of 4 from the line. Whatever works, I guess.
Fultz also had some trouble shedding Mitchell, who picked his pocket twice near the end of the first quarter. He did have two great drives late in third quarter. He drove right into the chest of Gobert and got a layup and drew a foul.
• After showing promise in their first game as a unit, the Sixers’ new starting five of Butler, Simmons, Embiid, JJ Redick and Wilson Chandler got off to an impressive start. They opened the game with a 16-4 run, making 8 of 8 from the field.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the unit long in the second half after Embiid got into foul trouble, but it did close out the game on a strong note.
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