Everything clicked for the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. The team played host to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time since the Jimmy Butler trade, and in as comprehensive of a beatdown as you’ll see in the Association, the Sixers came out on top, 149-107. While the main storyline was Butler against his old team, it was Joel Embiid who led the way for Philly.
Embiid was magnificent, scoring 31 points on 10-for-17 shooting with 13 rebounds in only 27 minutes. Butler was great, too, scoring 19 points on a hyper-efficient 8-for-10 shooting. It was just a night where everything worked for the Sixers, which was something they really needed, as there have been rumblings of discontent stemming from their recently-acquired star.
Speaking of Butler, it was impossible to watch this game without thinking of the circumstances surrounding his rather acrimonious departure from Minnesota. This wasn’t just the case for fans, because after the game, Embiid couldn’t help but go onto social media and reference the now-infamous practice in which Butler ended his time away from the team, only to join the Timberwolves’ third stringers and take it to the starters.
Embiid has scaled back the social media trolling this season, but this was a fun reminder that he’s untouchable when it comes to prodding opponents. All jokes aside, his box score indicated that he really did take this game seriously, as did everyone on the Sixers, which was something that Wolves guard Jeff Teague noted after the game.
Time heals all wounds, sure, but in his first game against his old team since he was traded, Butler obviously wanted to make sure the he and his new squad made an emphatic statement.