Butler revels in series win over Sixers: 'Tobias Harris over me?'
After the Miami Heat topped the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 on Thursday night, the stars for their respective franchises walked away with contrary emotions.
Heat wing Jimmy Butler was heard yelling, "Tobias Harris over me?" as he entered the team's locker room after the victory, questioning the Sixers' decision to retain the former All-Star over himself. Butler finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, and four assists to lead his squad to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Butler played 55 games for Philadelphia in the 2018-2019 season. The team was on the brink of making the Eastern Conference Finals before Kawhi Leonard's iconic Game 7 buzzer-beater lifted the eventual champion Toronto Raptors to the next round.
Philadelphia chose to move Butler in an offseason sign-and-trade deal with Miami while awarding Harris with a five-year, $180 million contract.
Butler also expressed his admiration for Sixers franchise star Joel Embiid in his walk-off interview, saying that he still wishes he was with Philadelphia.
"I definitely love the Miami Heat, though," he told ESPN's Jorge Sedano. "I'm glad that I'm here, but I have so much love and respect for Joel Embiid."
Meanwhile, Thursday's defeat marks the fourth time in five years that Philly failed to move past the second round. Embiid revealed postgame that he would've chosen to keep Butler on the roster.
"Like I said, I'm happy for him," the MVP runner-up said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "I mean, I won't sit here and say I didn't wish he was my teammate. I still don't know how we let him go. I wish I could have gone to battle with him still. But it is what it is. I just gotta keep building and keep trying to reach that goal."
Embiid's new star teammate James Harden did not play up to expectations, scoring 11 points on nine shots while adding nine assists and four rebounds.
Harden committed to staying with the Sixers after the loss, but Embiid called the entire team's performance into question after the game.
"Everybody's got to get better," Embiid said. "It's not just about me or (Harden). From 1 through 15, there's a reason why we lost to Miami. That means we all were not good enough. So everybody just has to be better."
- Suns' Vogel: Ayton 'can be one of the best centers in the league'
- How the Heat picked apart the Nuggets' defense in Game 2
- Grizzlies' Jackson: Brooks gave Lakers 'some life' with LeBron remarks
- NBA Podcast: Digging into the Finals after 2 games
- Report: Mavs interested in adding Jeff Van Gundy, Hornacek to Kidd's staff