Heat's Jimmy Butler Says He's 'Not Scared' of Going Up Against 76ers' Joel Embiid

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 8: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat handles the ball against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 8, 2022 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate and a three-time All-Defensive selection, but Jimmy Butler isn't intimidated.

"Joel's a hell of a player," Butler told reporters when asked about getting matched up with him on switches. "That's my guy, too. But I'm not scared of him either. I don't think anybody is. Nobody's scared of nobody in this matchup, so I'll attack him like I'll attack anybody else. I like it, he takes that challenge. He's the MVP, he's their team's best player, that's what he's supposed to do."

While the 76ers evened the series at two games apiece with a 116-108 victory in Sunday's Game 4, Butler looked anything but scared.

He put Miami on his back to the tune of 40 points, six assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks, which is about the only thing that kept it close since the visitors shot just 7-of-35 (20.0 percent) from deep and struggled to contain the 76ers on the other end.

Embiid (24 points and 11 rebounds) impressed with a double-double, but it was James Harden who took over in crunch time with 31 points, nine assists and seven rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting from deep.

Butler may need to take on Embiid more often if the Heat are going to advance.