Things got a little hairy last night when the Sixers suffered a five-minute scoring drought smack in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Then Jimmy Butler, looking like Rambo and/or Jrue Holiday with an extra long headband, hit a fadeaway jumper and a James Harden step back while adding a steal on the other end and stripping Nik Vucevic on the following defensive possession.
It was a “what the hell?” type of moment, at least for me. Here was Butler, who had only attempted eight field goals to that point, hitting a couple of incredibly difficult mid-range jump shots while clamping down on the defensive end, as if somebody just flicked a light switch or turned their front burner from “low” to “high.”
When Mike Scott’s three-pointer went in with 49 seconds on the clock, the game was essentially over:
Aaron Gordon lost the dribble before this and then made a head scratching defensive decision. Can’t even figure out what he wanted to do, but it’s leads to icing 3 pointer from Scott pic.twitter.com/VmV2NuNbRk
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) March 6, 2019
Butler gave one of his classic quirky press conferences after the game, coming out to the table alongside Amir Johnson for what he claimed was “moral support.” He didn’t want to answer our questions, not in an asshole-type of way, but in more of a “I just don’t have much to say” type of way.
But we asked anyway, and got this exchange out of him:
Crossing Broad: Jimmy this late game role –
Butler: Pffff, I just said I wasn’t answering questions.
Crossing Broad: Nah, hey, it’s two ways here. You had a big game, you gotta answer questions.
Butler: I didn’t do nothing.
Crossing Broad: You didn’t hit two jumpers and you didn’t have two big defensive plays at the end of the game?
Butler: I can’t remember (laughs).
Crossing Broad: You only took eight shots up until that point. When your number is called, is it difficult to be the closer when you really haven’t taken that many shots throughout the game?
Butler: Nah, I think I know when my number is gonna get called. I’m cool with it. I understand my role. Just gotta make shots late in the game. That’s why I’m here. Just happy that we can win.
Serena Winters: When you say that you understand your role and when your number is being called, what is that role?
Butler: For sure late in the game I think my teammates and coaches have a lot of confidence in me to take and make shots late. That’s all I’m worried about. I hope we never get into that situation anyways, but if we do, I feel like a lot of the times I’m gonna be called upon to make some shots.
Of course you’re probably wondering where Butler was for the previous 45 minutes, and I think that’s been a question over the last few games. He’s been oddly deferential, has he not? It’s one thing for Jimmy to be a good teammate and share the ball and play defense and glue everything together, but the other side of the coin is that he’s totally capable of putting up 30 points on any given night, when he’s really dialed in and assertive.
Brett Brown had more to say about Butler flipping that switch late in the fourth quarter, after the jump: