As soon as their playoff game ended Thursday night, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat got Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers to hug him and say goodbye. The two stars were co-stars in Philadelphia during the 2018-19 season, and there were times when Butler thought he could stay in the city longer. The 76ers had other plans, though, and that little bit remained with Butler.
Shortly after embracing Embiid, Butler was asked what he had said.
“That I love her; I am proud of him, ”Butler said in a television interview. “Yes, yes, yes, I still wish I was on his team. I really like the Miami Heat, though, man. I’m glad I’m here.”
The Miami Heat are happy too.
In the three seasons since moving south from Philadelphia, Butler has led the Heat to the Eastern Conference finals twice. The 76 players, who were close to qualifying for the conference finals with Butler and Embiid, are still trying to figure out how to pass the second round.
On Thursday, Butler scored 32 points to help his Heat clear the 76ers with a 99-90 victory in Game 6 of the second round qualifiers.
“He gets very frustrated in the upcoming matches or when he sees light at the end of the tunnel to shut down the team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He won’t leave it unfortunately. He saw an opportunity – ‘Hey, we have a chance to finish this tonight’ – and he wouldn’t let this go for seven.”
It was a game that seemed to be in worse shape than its last score was shown. With 1 minute left in 8 seconds, with Miami leading by 14 points, the 76ers pulled the lead and left Embiid and James Harden watching their season end on the bench.
The game closed a sad season for the 76ers, who were hoping to win the title this year after Harden’s sale in February.
Harden appeared unimpressed at one point when he played four matches while also contributing 11 points, 9 assists and 4 goals scored. After Philadelphia scored 2-2 in a row, Harden said his teammates were starting to commit violence in a way that could lead them to the championship. Two matches later, they were out.
Embiid, who had missed the first two games of the series due to a concussion and a broken orbit, played as the injury continued to heal with a thumb injury from Game 3. He scored 20 points and scored 12 goals on Thursday, but injuries its removed. Butler’s way of being the best player in the series.
“Jimmy has been like this to us in the playoffs,” Spoelstra told reporters before the game as he was excited about Butler’s role. “Whatever is needed. And it can be a different game from the game.”
Butler is known for many things, not all of them pleasing. In his best days he provides heavy defense and strong mistakes, but he also has a reputation for offending his teammates and coaches, forcing him to leave the team. He can work on his own until he gets tired in the service of winning a game, or launching a screaming fight in the peripheral congestion.
That what happened in March, when he and Spoelstra were forced to be separated from other players and coaches several times. Spoelstra laughed after the game, associating the moment with a fierce temper at the loss.
In the playoffs, Butler has shown his best side.
“Jimmy is a great competitor,” Spoelstra said Thursday. “I think he is one of the last competitors in this profession. I think a lot of things are lost in translation.”
The 6th game took place in the third anniversary of a bitter day in the history of the Philadelphia Games. On May 12, 2019, the 76ers were defeated by the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals when Kawhi Leonard, then with the Raptors, launched the final shot from the front of the Raptors bench later in the season. The ball hit the edge in three different places before falling into the net, thus ending the 76ers season.
Butler was in court that day, looking helplessly from the line with Leonard’s shot playing on the edge of the box and then falling off, but he didn’t get a chance to respond the following season. The 76ers were not ready for Butler’s long-term commitment, and he left that summer and joined the Heat in a signing-and-trade contract.
He carried Miami to the NBA finals in his first qualifying season a year later, and now, after leaving the first round last year, he returns to the finals after helping the Heat set a better record in the East. Symposium this season.
He also marks. After finishing his former team, Butler was caught on camera with a Miami television station saying, “Tobias Harris on me?”
Like Butler, Harris, who still plays for the 76ers, was bought by Philadelphia during the 2018-19 season. But 76 players signed Harris for a five-year deal worth $ 180 million the same season that the team sent Butler Miami.
Later, Butler spoke as a peaceable man.
“Now I am in the right place,” he told reporters. “I think, where I should have been a long time ago. A place where I am welcome.”