Jimmy Butler Leads Sixers With a Strong Game 2 vs. Raptors
The NBA Playoffs is what separates the good players from the great. Once that 82-game regular season concludes, nothing else before that matters. Players have to come with an entirely different intensity, or else they are going to find themselves sent home early. So far, the Philadelphia 76ers are on the right path thanks to their newly acquired veterans from earlier in the season.
It's unclear how far the Sixers would've come with their original squad from the beginning of the season, but the level of postseason confidence surely wouldn't be this high without Jimmy Butler on board. Before the postseason tipped off this year, the Sixers were made aware that Jimmy Butler is a different player when it comes to the playoffs for better, and his Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors showed everybody exactly why.
This past Saturday, the Sixers and the Raptors met for Game 1 in Toronto after both finishing off their previous opponents 4-1. The Sixers historically struggled against Toronto as they haven't won a game at their court in roughly about seven years. Philly entered into that game with confidence, but the high spirit didn't beat the sloppiness. It was a pure loss - Toronto made their shots and secured the ball, while the Sixers missed their attempts, and turned it over often.
The Sixers fell to the Raptors, which put them down in an 0-1 hole. Being down one game isn't bad, as we've witnessed the Sixers go down right away during the last series as well. However, going down 0-2 would've been disastrous for Philly as they have done historically awful while falling into that hole. In order to avoid 0-2, the Sixers needed a leader, and Playoff Jimmy Butler returned with a strong showing, which helped the Sixers come out on top to even the playing field 1-1.
Although Butler struggled a bit with his shot, going 9-for-22 from the field, his 30 point effort was all that mattered in the end. Butler was struggling from three as he took on a playoff-high of ten attempts but only knocked down three of them. While he wasn't perfect throughout the entire night, he turned it up when it mattered most during crunch time and once again, Brett Brown credits Jimmy Butler for being 'the adult in the room.'
Now, the Sixers take the series back to Philadelphia, where they will face the Raptors for the first time at home since the regular season. Having the home-court advantage for the next two games should uplift the Sixers' spirits in this series. Once again, after a disappointing Game 1, many were skeptical of the Sixers' ability to pull off a victory in this series. But with a strong Game 2 that came down to the wire, many view the Sixers potentially as the real deal.
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