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Butler, Simmons spark 76ers win

By: AP December 03,2018 - 09:41 PM

Memphis Grizzlies’ Garrett Temple tries to get past the defense of Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid in an NBA game in Philadelphia.
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Philadelphia — Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons have started wearing white headbands — yes, they are a headband of brothers — as a symbol of their commitment to defense. But the 76ers stars wanted to make more than a fashion statement — Butler and Simmons made a high-stakes pledge to D with a series of bets. Most steals. Most blocks.

Simmons won the hand with two steals to Butler’s one block.

“They gave (Joel Embiid) one of my blocks,” Butler said. “Technically, it’s 2-2. So we’ll push.”

The box score tally may be in dispute but it’s incontestable Butler has made the Sixers a true championship contender.

Butler continued his run as Philadelphia’s stretch-run shooter, scoring 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the 76ers to a 103-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Butler hit winning shots against Charlotte and Brooklyn in eight days to quickly earn a reputation as Philly’s newest go-to guard in the fourth. Against a Memphis team trying to steal one on the road, Butler hit a few more big buckets in the waning moments.

Butler didn’t need the final-minute theatrics to win this one. But he proved his worth and stunted Memphis’ rally.

Simmons, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds on a sprained left ankle, ran up from behind on MarShon Brooks and poked the ball free for a steal. That led to a pair of free throws for Butler that made it 95-89. Butler buried a turnaround jumper for a 97-89 lead that sealed the win.

“That’s what the team needs me to do late, close out a couple of games,” Butler said. “It didn’t come down to the buzzer-beater thing. I think all in all in the fourth quarter, I scored a few points.”

Enough to take down Memphis.

JJ Redick continued his late-career resurgence with 24 points for the Sixers and Embiid had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

They all admire the way Butler has acclimated himself since his arrival last month in a trade with Minnesota. The Sixers are 13-1 at home and 8-2 since the Butler deal.

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TAGS: 76ers, Butler, spark, win

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