Jimmy Butler was apparently loving Boban Marjanovic’s coming out party with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. In the team’s first game out of the NBA All-Star break, they were without star big man Joel Embiid, who’s dealing with knee soreness. This meant the Sixers turned to recently-acquired center Boban Marjanovic to hold down the fort in the key Eastern Conference matchup, and he didn’t disappoint.
Marjanovic wrapped up the night by playing 27 minutes during Philly’s 106-102 win over the Miami Heat and tallied 19 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and one block. He shot 6-of-7 from the field and made 7-of-10 free throw attempts. After the game, Butler spoke to reporters and as Jon Johnson of Sports Radio 94WIP revealed, he’s ready for head coach Brett Brown to let the 7-foot-3 big man start shooting 3-pointers.
It was a pretty perfect comment from Butler, and we’ve seen the 29-year-old showcase his sarcasm quite a bit since joining the Sixers. Considering Marjanovic has attempted three shots from beyond the arc this season, it’s safe to assume he won’t begin stepping out there often.
Sixers’ Well-Rounded Performance in Win Over Heat
Any win without Embiid in the lineup is impressive, as the Sixers big man has been superb this season, averaging 27.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. But multiple players stepped up in his absence, and the entire first unit finished with double-digit points. Tobias Harris led the way with 23 points and tacked on 11 rebounds.
Butler had a slow start but finished the game with a well-rounded stat line of 18 points, six rebounds and six assists while Ben Simmons racked up 21 points and seven rebounds. The Sixers bench was still a concern as they scored just 12 points total, but T.J. McConnell stepped up nicely by scoring six points with five assists and three steals in 11 minutes.
Boban Marjanovic Impressing With Sixers
Although Marjanovic has only played five games with the Sixers since coming over in the trade with Harris and Mike Scott, he’s had a few strong games over that stretch. He’s averaging 13.0 minutes per game (the most of his career) along with a career-high mark in points per game (7.0) and is shooting 72.2 percent from the field. It’s obviously early, but his short tenure in Philly has gone well thus far.
Over the five-game span, the 30-year-old big man has scored 10 or more points three times while totaling six or more rebounds in limited minutes over the last three games. Prior to the NBA All-Star break (and his performance against the Heat), Marjanovic scored 10 points with eight rebounds in 14 minutes during a win over the New York Knicks.