Butler, Redick Providing Key Contributions
The value of veteran contributions can come in a variety of forms this time of year, produced by a demanding environment in which stakes and pressure are at an extreme.
While the 76ers didn’t leave South Philadelphia on the note they had hoped following Sunday’s loss, Game 4 offered a reminder of this dynamic - captured by the efforts of Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick.
By just about any barometer, Butler is having a fantastic playoffs. Specific to the second round, the All-Star is leading the Sixers in scoring (22.8 ppg), offensive rebounding (2.0 orpg), and assists (5.8 apg), while having hit the second-most 3-pointers on the club (8 3fgm).
As for JJ Redick, he’s playing in his 13th playoffs in as many seasons in the NBA. At 34 years old, the sharpshooter seems as spry as ever.
His 14 triples in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors top the Sixers, and rank fourth-highest among all players in the second round. Redick’s 42.4 3-point percentage in Round 2 is best on the Sixers, and fourth overall in the league as well.
Between the Sixers’ matchups with Brooklyn and Toronto, Redick has also played a role in containing two of the sport’s most efficient 3-point shooters this past season, in the Nets’ Joe Harris (no. 1 3fg%) and the Raptors’ Danny Green (no. 2).
On Sunday in particular, both Butler and Redick made their presence felt. Butler registered his second double-double of the series (29 pts / 11 reb), knocking down an array of difficult shots. He also paced the Sixers on the glass, and again served as an effective point man when called upon.
Redick, on the other hand, netted 19 points in Game 4. The total was his second-highest of the 2019 playoffs, as were his four threes, which he drilled on just seven attempts.
Not only was Redick efficient, his baskets were timely. One of his triples put the Sixers up four early in the fourth quarter. Another made it a one-point game with two minutes to go.
To Brett Brown, however, the importance of Butler and Redick this postseason goes beyond tangible impact. In respect to Butler, the head coach sees a tone-setter, someone highly skilled who continues to emerge as a leader and take ownership of the organization he joined three weeks into the season.
“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again,” Brown said Monday during a telephone conference call with reporters. “I think that how he approaches the game - there’s a physicality, there’s a passion, there’s a toughness - it mirrors the city of Philadelphia. It’s a perfect fit for the city. There’s a leadership that is growing for sure, and in this environment, we need it all.”
And according to Brown, Butler is providing even more of it now in the playoffs.
Redick remains a marvel to Brown. The second-year Sixer’s on-court performance is the byproduct of a perpetually ritualistic and intense regimen.
“What you see is what you get,” said Brown. “I think from time to time, all those things are heightened because of the [postseason] environment, but it might be the thing I most respect about him - there is a consistency holistically as much as any player who I have coached.”
With go-ahead stakes up for grabs in Tuesday’s Game 5 in Toronto, the more the Sixers can keep getting from Butler and Redick, the better the team’s chances figure to be.