Jimmy Butler is known around the NBA as a fiery competitor who will not back down from anyone.
Philadelphia 76ers teammate T.J. McConnell certainly knows that and took extreme measures Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks to make sure Butler’s intensity didn’t get him in trouble.
Late in the third quarter, Butler was guarding Alex Len in the post when Len caught Butler with an elbow to the jaw. Butler fell to the floor and was visibly angry at Len. But before things got out of hand, McConnell intervened and literally dragged Butler away from Len before the confrontation escalated any further.
Cooler heads prevailed, and Len was assessed a flagrant foul-1 for the elbow. Butler hit two free throws as play continued without further incident.
Len and the rebuilding Hawks went on to notch a big road win, edging Butler and the 76ers 123-121. Len finished with nine points and six rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench.
Butler led the 76ers with a team-high 30 points, but he missed a pair of free throws with 2.4 seconds left that could have tied the game.
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