Jimmy Butler was all heated and ready to go after nearly getting his teeth knocked out during a play as the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
The guard, who scored 30 points for his team, got hit in the jaw by an elbow from Alex Len and was not best pleased. It appeared that Len was going to feel Jimmy's wrath as soon as he got off the floor but, fortunately, Butler's teammate T.J. McConnell wisely stepped in.
McConnell sensed that revenge was on the way and, as you'll see below, literally dragged Butler away from the scene of a potential scuffle.
TJ tried helping Jimmy after he got elbowed. Butler wasn't having it 😳 pic.twitter.com/czhIqnUqmL— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 12, 2019
Butler was in no mood to be taken away but relented in the end, with McConnell ensuring that it went no further.
Len got his punishment, though. The 25-year-old center was hit with a flagrant 1 and Butler sank two free throws without having to resort to anything more.
The Hawks managed to get one over Philly in the end, taking advantage of Joel Embiid's absence to score 62 points in the paint and outrebound the Sixers 44-30 on the night. They won the game with a marginal 123-121 result, leaving Butler and point guard Ben Simmons to disagree over whether or not the team played "too soft".
"I think we were just too soft," Simmons told ESPN in the wake of the loss. "I just don't think we're physical enough. I think defensively, we're not taking it personal enough when guys score on us," Simmons told reporters after the game. "It should be a pride thing when somebody scores; you should be frustrated every time."
Butler did not concur.
"I don't like the word 'soft'," he said in disagreement. "I just don't think that we did what we were supposed to do," Butler said. "I'm not gonna say that anybody's soft. I just think that we got beat in every aspect of the game. They came out from the jump and did what they wanted to do, and they did that for 48 straight minutes."
What This Means
McConnell knows Jimmy well enough to know that the guard would probably be serving a suspension had he not intervened.
Jimmy can't have appreciated being dragged away like a rag doll and may have had some choice words for his teammate, especially if he saw the footage. But, ultimately, he's probably thankful someone was around to pull him away quickly enough.