East Notes: Heat, Jimmy Butler, Raptors, Sixers, Joel Embiid


Coach Erik Spoelstra suggested guard/forward Jimmy Butler is a good example for younger players.

Butler scored 33 points off 16 shots in Friday’s win over the Cavaliers.

“I feel like we could say this about so many of the games but that’s what the greats do,” Spoelstra said, via Shandel Richardson of SI.com. “How long ago was it, two or three weeks ago, he had the 30-point game off 12 shots and now he did a 33-point game off (16) shots. It’s the epitome of efficiency.”

Spoelstra added players needn’t dominate the ball to make a winning impact.

“Players coming in should study Jimmy Butler,” he said. “You don’t need to be a volume shooter. You don’t need to have the ball in your hands all the time to be able to impose your will offensively. He just is a really smart basketball player and he knows how to win games, particularly when games are competitive and close.”


Coach Nick Nurse indicated he still believes the Raptors can make a push and secure a playoff berth.

“Even though we’re down the standings a little bit, we don’t feel like there’s a huge gap between us and a lot of teams in this league,” Nurse said, via Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “I don’t think we’re afraid of too many teams. The main thing for us is to continue to focus on getting better, playing better, getting some wins and get in the (playoffs).”

  • That said, the Raptors finished a West Coast trip with just one win and five games and are looking mediocre at best these days, Koreen wrote.


Joel Embiid now has 25 games with 35 or more points this season, tying Shaquille O’Neal as centers who have accomplished the feat since 1999-2000.

“I’m really just working on my game, honestly,” Embiid said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Trying to be aggressive, and getting my guys involved. Like I said, I can be better, I missed a bunch of free throws today, and I had a couple turnovers, especially one down the stretch, so I can always be better.”

  • The Sixers have surrendered 40 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point line in six of the last eight games.

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