Jimmy 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 sharp shooter. Against a Memphis team trying to steal one on the road, Butler hit big buckets in the waning moments.
Butler didn’t need the final-minute theatrics to win this one. But he proved his worth in the fourth.
Ben Simmons, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, 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.
Butler and Simmons have started wearing white headbands — yes, they are a headband of brothers — as a symbol of their commitment to defense. Butler has tried to take Simmons under his wing and focus more on a defensive toughness. But they’ve been pretty good on offense since Butler’s arrival last month from Minnesota. Butler fed Simmons for a cutting layup in the first quarter and Simmons fed Butler on an alley-oop for an early spark.
With the rest of the NBA on a run-and-shoot style of soaring scores, the Grizzlies are grinding out wins in a methodical manner. They kept within striking distance of the Sixers and pulled to 84-81 in the fourth and Marc Gasol hit a 3 to make it 92-84.
The Sixers had thumped New York by 16 and Washington by 25 as they rolled to the second-most wins in the NBA. They are 13-1 at home and 8-2 since the acquired Butler in a trade with Minnesota last month.
JJ Redick continued his late-career resurgence with 24 points for the Sixers and Joel Embiid had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Mike Conley scored 21 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 17 for the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies: Had no offensive rebounds out of 17 total in the first half. … The Grizzlies, coming off a 131-125 double-overtime win at Brooklyn on Friday, used their defense to hold the Sixers to just 26 points in the first quarter. The Sixers averaged a league-best 30.3 points in the first quarter this season.
76ers: Played without starting F Wilson Chandler (thigh). Chandler was not expected to miss another game. Mike Muscala got the start and scored eight points. … Director M. Night Shyamalan was at the game. … Embiid has scored in double figures in all 25 games.
Grizzlies: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
76ers: At Toronto on Wednesday night.
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Source: The Associated Press