On the Spirit of 76 Night, where Allen Iverson rang the pregame bell and chants of MVP rained down on Joel Embiid as he stood at the free throw line, Jimmy Butler stole the show.
Brett Brown mentioned to reporters when the trade was first announced that Butler mirrors the spirit of Philadelphia and that became very obvious to the frenzied crowd that gathered at the Wells Fargo Center last night. Jimmy showed toughness and resiliency throughout the game and got buckets down the stretch when they mattered the most.
The atmosphere was electric last night before the opening jump, as the sellout crowd went wild for Butler’s first home introduction as a Sixer. The game itself started out like many of the Sixers games this year. The team got off to fast start against a Jazz team that came in struggling mightily from an offensive standpoint. Everything seemed to be clicking and Butler was starting to look much more comfortable with his new teammates and system.
The Jazz fought back from a slow start led by a strong performance from last year’s Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Donovan Mitchell, but the difference between last night and many previous night’s was the Sixers had a guy in Butler to stop the run and make a play when the game was on the line.
With the Sixers up 2 late in the 4th quarter, Butler hit a jumper to extend the lead and then drew an offensive foul on the other end to effectively seal the game. “Jimmy Butler, Jimmy Butler, Jimmy Butler!!!” the sellout crowd serenaded the team’s new superstar as he led the Sixers in scoring en route to another home victory and his first as a member of the 76ers. This win put their home record at 29-1 over the last 30 games at Wells Fargo Center.
As the final whistle blew and the Sixers victory song came on you could see Jimmy was grooving. When asked by a reporter after the game he said: “Y’all, we have some great fans. Y’all have the catchiest song. I used to sing it in my head when I came here.” There’s still a lot of chemistry to be built, but you can could see glimpses last night of what the future may hold for this team and it looks extremely bright.