Jimmy Butler came to the defense of Joel Embiid after the 76ers’ 125-89 blowout loss to the Raptors in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Many pointed blame at Embiid and some fans even trolled him after the 36-point defeat, but Butler reiterated his support for his teammate. Embiid has been dealing with an upper respiratory infection and he struggled in Games 4 and 5.
Butler, however, isn’t worried about Embiid’s production and he doesn’t think fans should question the center, either.
“Not concerned, man,” Butler said of Embiid (via ESPN). “We’re going to ride or die with big fella. Everybody around this locker room knows that. Everybody in the world should know it. The fans should know it.
“We’ll be just fine. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, encouraging him to keep battling through all the injury, through all sickness. And we’re here with him.”
In Tuesday’s matchup, Embiid checked out with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. He finished the night with just 13 points and six rebounds, but turned the ball over eight times. Embiid explained he has “to do a better job” in order for Philadelphia to get another victory in this series.
“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I got to do the little things. When I’m needed to score the ball, I got to show up. Setting screens, I got to do a better job of rebounding the ball. So that’s on me. … I just got to do more.”
When Embiid left the game, several fans, including Drake, were seen in the stands mimicking his airplane celebration, which came after Embiid dunked in Game 3. The fans’ actions, though, didn’t phase Embiid.
Drake and Raptors fans troll Embiid as he checked out in the 4th 😅 pic.twitter.com/E7kIEV4Wi4
— ESPN (@espn) May 8, 2019
“I just saw them shake their bodies,” Embiid said of the fans. “I didn’t pay attention about what the hell they were doing. Good for them. … I don’t care if it offends anybody, but what I do is all about having fun. I don’t care. And I’m going to do that because I know I’m going to dominate.”
The 76ers will host the Raptors in Game 6 on Thursday with tipoff set for 8 p.m. ET as Toronto leads the series, 3-2.