Here’s what Jimmy Butler had to say about Joel Embiid’s devastating setback ahead of the Heat-76ers series

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While Miami Heat veteran Jimmy Butler wants to win the team’s upcoming series against the Philadelphia 76ers, he wants to do it with the Sixers at full strength.

Butler’s comments are based on the possibility of 76ers center Joel Embiid being out of action after he sustained an orbital fracture on Thursday night.

Not having Embiid in the lineup would deal a stiff blow to the Sixers’ chances of advancing in the playoffs. This season, Embiid has delivered outstanding numbers across the board.

In 68 regular season games for the Sixers this season, Embiid averaged a league-high 30.6 points per contest. In addition, he averaged 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

Having to win without a key player like Embiid would put added pressure on 76ers guard James Harden. He was acquired by the Sixers during the season and has historically faced detractors for not helping his teams win it all.

Butler is a former teammate of Embiid and during his one season with the Sixers, got a close look at how the big man was developing into such a force.

A likely reason why Butler wants to play against the very best the Sixers have to offer stems from his first season with the Heat. That 2019-20 campaign was interrupted by COVID-19 and resumed within a bubble in Orlando, Fla.

Due to the unusual circumstances of that year’s postseason, the concept of home-court advantage was essentially eliminated since no fans were allowed to attend the games.

The Heat reached the NBA Finals as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. After they were eliminated quickly last season, Butler and the Heat heard comments about the possible fluke nature of their 2020 trip to the championship series.

Right now, Embiid’s chances to play remain uncertain, but the Heat-76ers series is certain to get underway on Monday night in Miami.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.