);
Philadelphia 76ers

76ers defence applies clamps on Miami Heat in Jimmy Butler's return to Philadelphia

The much-anticipated return of Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia was over quickly, as the 76ers led by 15 after the first period and never looked back, running out 113-86 winners.

Josh Richardson led the Sixers with 32 points, while Joel Embiid finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.

Philadelphia fans let Butler hear all about it

Jimmy Butler made his return to Philadelphia tonight, and Sixers fans made sure he was heard the boos loud and clear from the moment he was announced in the Heat starting lineup.

Each and every touch was met with jeers, after the All-Star wing signed a four-year, $140 million deal as a part of a sign-and-trade transaction that sent him to Miami in July.

Including playoffs, Butler appeared in just 67 games with the Sixers, and it would be easy to argue that without him, Philadelphia would have been headed for a first-round exit against the Brooklyn Nets.

Despite the game being well and truly over early, Butler would still play 30+ minutes, finishing with 11 points on 13 shot attempts and a -31 on the box score.

It's safe to say, it was not the return Butler was looking for.

Josh Richardson finds his groove

Richardson was the key piece that moved to Philadephia in the Butler trade mentioned above, and the guard has slotted into the starting lineup with mixed results thus far.

Expected to carry a fair share of the outside shooting load for a roster that lacks spacing, Richardson came in to this one knocking down just 31 percent of his 4.9 attempts from beyond the arc.

After missing yesterday's win against San Antonio, Richardson wasted no time getting back into the flow of the Sixers offence, connecting on a four-point play in the opening minutes. The highlight play was just the tip of the iceberg for the 26-year-old, as he poured in a season-high 32 points on a scorching hot 6-for-7 from three.

The Philadelphia offence will continue to be surrounded by question marks over the fit of the pieces, but if Richardson starts to catch fire from three, it will be a huge boost in an area they severely need help with.

The much discussed Sixers defence applies the clamps

Philadelphia came into the game against Miami holding the leagues tenth ranked defence with a defensive rating of 103.9.

While possessing a top-ten defence is certainly a good thing, it still falls well short of expectations for a starting five that many expected to be the best in the entire league.

That defensive potential was on show against Miami, as Brett Brown's squad help their opposition to just 35 points in the first half to all but end the game after just 24 minutes of play.

Overall, the starting five for the Heat shot just 12-for-40 from the field and 0-for-11 from deep.

It hasn't been all plain sailing for this Sixers team in 2019-20, as they now move to 11-5 on the season and 6-5 over their last eleven, but as the key players in this squad begin to look comfortable playing with each other, look out.

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