ORLANDO, Fla. — For 3 quarters, the Jimmy Butler period in Philadelphia was trying precisely prefer it was purported to.
However basketball video games are 4 quarters lengthy. And the ultimate 12 minutes of Wednesday night time’s sport for the 76ers in opposition to the Orlando Magic in what appeared destined to be a cheerful ending for Butler’s Sixers debut changed into something however.
As a substitute, it was the Magic who authored a shocking 21-Zero run to erase a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit. They then went on an 11-2 run to shut issues out to present Orlando a 111-106 victory and spoil Butler’s first sport with Philadelphia. Butler completed with 14 factors, 4 rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes, however he could not ship a victory for the Sixers down the stretch.
It appeared like he had Philadelphia in place to win twice — first when he hit Mike Muscala for a 3-pointer with 3:33 remaining to make it 104-100 in favor of the Sixers, after which once more when he discovered Joel Embiid large open on the left wing for a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining.
Embiid missed, nonetheless, and whereas Ben Simmons would hit two free throws with 52.1 seconds remaining to tie the sport at 106, a Terrence Ross 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds left put Orlando forward for good.
Philadelphia bought one last likelihood to tie the sport, however JJ Redick stepped out of bounds whereas attempting to execute a dribble handoff alongside the sideline with Simmons, costing the Sixers a possibility to even get off a game-tying shot.
A pair of free throws by Magic heart Nikola Vucevic with 5.Three seconds left formally iced the sport, sending Philadelphia to a shocking defeat in Butler’s first sport with the franchise.
Nonetheless, the four-time All-Star guard — whom the Sixers acquired together with ahead Justin Patton for ahead Dario Saric, ahead Robert Covington, guard Jerryd Bayless and a future second-round choose — confirmed some indicators of chemistry along with his new teammates regardless of having participated in just one morning shootaround with them previous to Wednesday night time’s contest.
Butler’s first basket got here simply over two minutes into the sport, when he took a cross from Embiid on the left wing, lower to the basket and completed an acrobatic layup.
Embiid completed with 19 factors, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists for a triple-double, and Philadelphia had 32 assists on 41 discipline objectives — a powerful tally for a group attempting to combine a major new piece.
The opposite query surrounding the Sixers heading into this sport was the standing of Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 total choose from final 12 months who was changed in Philadelphia’s beginning lineup by Butler.
Previous to Wednesday’s sport, Sixers coach Brett Brown insisted Fultz would stay part of the group’s plans shifting ahead, and Brown was good to his phrase in opposition to the Magic. Fultz got here in for Simmons within the first and third quarters and performed prolonged stints in every half — 12 straight minutes within the first and 9 within the second.Fultz completed the sport with eight factors, three rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes, however he did not try a free throw after double-clutching one within the second quarter of Monday’s victory on the Miami Heat — solely to later say it slipped out of his hand.
The true story, although, was Butler, who lastly was carrying a distinct jersey after spending nearly the previous two months ready for the Timberwolves to observe by on his request to be traded away from Minnesota.
Earlier than the sport, each Brown and Butler acknowledged there was going to be an adjustment interval, however Butler mentioned enjoying laborious would resolve a lot of it.
“I like basketball,” Butler mentioned. “That is the place my power comes from. I like to compete. I like to point out I can assist a group win, that I am one of many actually good gamers within the league.
“That is the place my power comes from. Going on the market and competing and enjoying laborious. Every part else will kind itself out.”