Jimmy Butler put together a masterful performance on Monday evening, leading the Miami Heat to an upset victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1. While it wasn’t a surprise to see Butler shining on a big stage, the veteran wing finished with 40 points against the NBA’s top defense and, in crunch time, Butler was at his best in decimating every perimeter defender placed in his path. With that as the backdrop, Joel Embiid joined the party in viewing the festivities from afar and, in on-brand fashion, he caused a bit of a stir along the way.
Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers flopped in the first round against the Boston Celtics. While Philadelphia had myriad issues in that series, a well-chronicled problem is the lack of a primary creator offensively and, of course, Butler served that role for the Sixers a year ago. To that end, Butler continued his high-level play in the fourth quarter, with Embiid prompting a question at the same time.
— Joel “Do a 180” Embiid??? (@JoelEmbiid) September 1, 2020
To be fair, Embiid could be referring to anything here, and he is truly a performer on social media. The timing was certainly interesting, though, and it is undeniable that Butler brought a skill set to the 76ers that Philadelphia notably lacked in 2019-20.
Just 12 minutes later in real time, Embiid praised Butler as “too good,” right as he polished off the victory for the Heat, confirming he was indeed dialed in to Monday’s game.
Even if Embiid was actually referring to Butler, there isn’t a lot that can be done, as the Sixers facilitated his trip to Miami in a sign-and-trade that allowed Butler to take over his own team. Still, it pours some gas on Philadelphia’s roster fire, with no easy to overhaul the team’s makeup and one of the 15 best players in the league performing at an obscene level for the Heat on the NBA’s biggest stage.