Jimmy Butler’s last-second three-pointer lifts Sixers to win over Nets
In addition to the game winner, Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help the Sixers avoid another loss to a bad team.
NEW YORK — Isolation, step-back three-pointer, and game-winner.
Jimmy Butler did it, again.
The 76ers swingman's 27-footer with 0.4 seconds left lifted his team to a 127-125 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night at the Barclays Center. Butler drained the game-winner over Chester native Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in front of the Nets bench.
"My teammates have a lot of confidence in me to take shots late. Hopefully, I make shots late, as well," said Butler, who scored 18 of his team-high 34 points in the fourth quarter. "But I mean, I got to the spot that I wanted to get to, raised up and knocked it down."
Brooklyn had a chance to win the game afterward. However, Ben Simmons stole DeMarre Carroll's inbounds pass and heaved the ball in the air as time expired.
The victory enabled the Sixers (14-8) to avoid a second-straight loss to a team with a losing record. It also helped them avoid a second setback to the Nets (8-13) in as many meetings. Brooklyn defeated them here, 122-97, on Nov. 4.
This also marked Butler's second game-winning basket since being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12. The four-time All-Star's step-back three-pointer from the same spot with 0.3 seconds left lifted the Sixers to a 122-119 overtime victory over the Hornets in the Spectrum Center at Charlotte on Nov. 17.
Butler said he practiced the shot over and over again Saturday night just in case the Sixers got in this situation.
"That's my spot," he said. "I think if I get there at any point in time [in a] game, I can make a lot of shots."
In addition to his season-high point total, the 29-year-old finished with a season-high 12 rebounds, two assists, and four steals. It was his first double-double since posting 17 points and 10 assists in the Timberwolves' three-point loss to the Washington Wizards on Nov. 28, 2017.
Not bad for a guy who sprained his left ankle in Friday's setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
He said his ankle was "a little bit sore, but I'm OK."
"We got two days [before the Sixers' next game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center]. Get some treatment and have a little bit of wine, and get some rest."
Joel Embiid added 32 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks for his league-leading 20th double-double of the season. Eleven of his points came in the fourth quarter. This also marked his 13th game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. The All-Star center made 11 of 19 shots after being held to a season-low eight shot attempts — with four makes — in the Sixers' earlier loss to Brooklyn.
On Sunday, Embiid attended the New England Patriots' 27-13 victory over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. before his game. Being on hand for the football game – instead of resting – obviously didn't hinder his performance. Embiid actually was the first Sixer to arrive at the arena and was on the court working out in street clothes three hours before the game.
Rookie reserve shooting guard Landry Shamet finished with a career-high 16 points, while going 4-for-4 on three-pointers. Nine of his points came while making three three-pointers in the third quarter. Meanwhile, JJ Redick (15), Ben Simmons (13 points, nine assists, three steals, two blocks) and Wilson Chandler (10) were the Sixers' other double-figure scorers.
Brooklyn was paced by D'Angelo Russell (38 points) and Spencer Dinwiddie (31).
The Sixers, who committed a season-low nine turnovers, pulled within seven points (110-103) on a Butler three-pointer with 7 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the game, after trailing by as many as 20 points twice in the second quarter.
They went on to close the gap to 118-114 on Redick's five-foot floater with 3:51 left. The Sixers pulled within two points twice — the second time came on Embiid's dunk to make 120-118 with 1:38 left.
Russell misfired on a 26-foot three-pointer on the ensuing possession. Seven seconds later, Redick drained a three-pointer to put the Sixers up, 121-120, with 1:03 remaining. (It was their first lead since being up, 2-0, only 42 seconds into the game.)
After the score seesawed, Dinwiddie buried an 18-foot pull-up jumper to give the Nets a 125-124 lead with 26 seconds left. The Sixers called a timeout and ran an isolation play for Butler. He delivered with his second game-winner in five games.
"I believe in him," Chandler said. "Every time he shoots the ball, I believe in him. I believe in all my teammates, but him especially. He's a big shot taker and a big shot maker."