The first game of the 2019 Eastern Conference Playoffs didn’t go as the Philadelphia 76ers expected. Despite having homecourt advantage on Saturday night, the 76ers still suffered a massive defeat from the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, who entered the best-of-seven series as the heavy underdogs. Still, Sixers superstar Jimmy Butler remains very optimistic about the team’s chances to dominate the Eastern Conference and win the 2019 NBA championship.
In an interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Jimmy Butler said that he’s not worried at all with their recent loss to the Nets. Butler explained that there are lots of things worse than dropping the first game of the postseason, believing that the 76ers can bounce back and advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
“We’re fortunate,” Butler said. “We get to play basketball every day. We’re in the playoffs, we’re the 3-seed. We’re happy. It could be a lot worse. We could be down 0-4, but we’re not. So, we’re not going to worry about it, man. We’re going into this bad baby [Monday] thinking we’re going to win.”
It’s easy to understand the reason behind Jimmy Butler’s confidence. With their current roster, it’s hard to imagine the 76ers being beaten in a best-of-seven series by a team who only has one All-Star, D’Angelo Russell. However, if they are serious about becoming the new ruler in the Eastern Conference, they need to exert more effort on both ends of the floor in their upcoming games.
Jimmy Butler has activated his playoff mode after dropping 36 points, nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, but some of his teammates were huge disappointments in Game 1. Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, and Tobias Harris only combined for 18 points on 8-for-23 shooting from the field on Saturday night. With Joel Embiid remaining questionable in Game 2 with lingering tendinitis in his left knee, Sixers head coach Brett Brown is expecting a better performance from Simmons, Redick, and Harris.
Game 1 between the Nets and the 76ers was filled with controversies. From Amir Johnson being caught using his cellphone during the game, to the Sixers being booed by their own fans, Ben Simmons admitted that he’s frustrated with the way their fans reacted to their recent loss, but he doesn’t seem to be surprised at all.
“It’s Philly. That’s what’s going to happen,” Simmons said. “I mean, I love it. That’s how Philly is. If you can play or you can’t, they’re going to give you the s—, talk s—, it is what it is. If you’re not playing well, they’re going to let you know.”
Game 2 of the first-round matchup between the 76ers and the Nets happens on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.