Sixers crush T'wolves in Butler's first clash vs former team
LOS ANGELES, USA – Philadelphia forward Jimmy Butler's first game against his former team was no contest as the 76ers destroyed the Minnesota Timberwolves, 149-107, on Tuesday, January 15 (Wednesday, January 16, Manila time).
Sixers center Joel Embiid scored 31 points and pulled down 13 rebounds and guard Ben Simmons fell just shy of a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in an NBA clash that Philadelphia controlled from start to finish.
The Sixers scored 83 points in the 1st half – their highest first-half total since dropping 83 on San Antonio on March 24, 1989. Their 21 three-pointers were a team record.
Butler, traded from Minnesota in November after agitating for a move since the start of the season, added 19 points as 7 Sixers players – including all 5 starters, scored in double figures.
The rout of a struggling T'Wolves team – who fired head coach Tom Thibodeau last week – was a confidence builder for the 76ers who play their next 12 games against teams with winning records.
"We've got a tough stretch coming up against all playoff teams," Embiid said. "I think the next 3 weeks are really going to shape our season. It's going to be exciting to see where we are."
In Indianapolis, the Indiana Pacers led wire-to-wire in a 131-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Myles Turner, back in action after missing 4 games with a sore right shoulder, scored 18 points and pulled down 6 rebounds for the Pacers, who had 20 points apiece from starting forward Bojan Bogdanovic and reserve Tyreke Evans.
Milwaukee's Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season as the Bucks dispatched the Miami Heat, 124-86.
Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 16 for the Bucks, who were on the defensive early but led 30-23 by the end of the 1st quarter.
"I didn't see this one coming," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admitted. "It was just an onslaught."
In Atlanta, the Hawks pulled away with a 24-8 fourth-quarter scoring run to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 142-126.
John Collins led Atlanta with 26 points – setting a tone as he made his first 11 shots on the way to connecting on 12-of-14 from the field.
Although the Thunder put up 41 points in the 3rd quarter to take a three-point lead into the final frame, the Hawks surged back with 45 points in the 4th quarter. – Rappler.com