Sixers vs. Heat: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Paul Hudrick

Jimmy Butler makes his return to the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night as the Sixers (10-5) host the Heat (11-3).

Josh Richardson will return to the lineup after missing the last two games with right hip flexor tightness. Furkan Korkmaz is out with a minor left ankle sprain. He's being held out for precautionary reasons and will be re-evaluated before the team flies to Toronto Monday.

The Heat will be without Justise Winslow (concussion) and Derrick Jones Jr. (hip).

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Here are the essentials for tonight's game.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app


This is normally the part where we give you three storylines to watch, but let's be real - there's only one. 

I could write about Richardson taking on his former team or the emergence of Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, but is that what anyone is talking about right now?

Jimmy's return

While entrenched in his saga in Minnesota, Butler once quoted the character Harvey Dent, who later turned into Two-Face in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight."

"You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

Butler has been alive and well in South Beach so make no mistake, he comes back here a villain - a role he will surely relish.

He'll likely be booed, but some may offer an applause. After all, Butler did almost carry the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Finals and maybe even beyond.

But both sides were apparently ready to move on this offseason. Butler chose the warmer weather while the Sixers chose a warmer locker room by adding Al Horford and Richardson. So far, both sides appear happy with their decisions.

Butler is thriving in Miami. He has the Heat out to an 11-3 start and playing excellent basketball. It's his team and he's elevated the play of the aforementioned players. He is their lone superstar. It's what he's wanted all along.

Still, he has nothing but love for Joel Embiid.

Because that m-----f----- is special. For real," Butler said to the Athletic. "Any time I text him, which we text plenty, FaceTime, phone calls. I always tell him, ‘Continue to show why you're the best player in this league.' Because I saw it. I saw it. He can do everything. Like, legit, he can do everything. He works and I respect it. He works. And then he's in the house. He's with his girlfriend. That's how you become the best player, you've got to be obsessed with it. And he is. He is.

GM Elton Brand didn't do too bad in landing the versatile Richardson in the sign-and-trade that sent Butler to Miami.

There have been plenty of growing pains so far as this gargantuan team learns how to play and properly space the floor offensively. Still, the environment around the team has been much better - dare we say, drama free?

Simmons and Harris have stepped up as leaders in Butler's absence. Brett Brown has raved recently about Simmons' leadership and his evolution into a true point guard.

I thought just his pace and his activity - I see him growing completely from a leadership perspective as much as what we might see in a game," Brown said after Friday's win over the Spurs. "They went out and they started fouling him. He missed his first few, and I didn't blink, either. He went to the line. And I was prepared to live with that. And to his credit, he started making some after that first wave.

You'd have to imagine that Simmons will get the defensive assignment vs. Butler. He should be up for that challenge. Simmons said at media day his only individual goal was to try to become Defensive Player of the Year. That wasn't just hollow talk. He's been incredible on that end in the early going.

Does Butler guard Simmons? Does he dare Simmons to shoot like so many teams have?

If you have any popcorn lying around, I'd suggest you get it ready.

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Sixers vs. Heat: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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