Ben Simmons accused the Philadelphia 76ers of being "soft" after Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat to a resounding 137-106 victory on Monday.

Butler was ruthless against his former team, finishing with 14 of 20 from the field, sinking two of two from the three-point line and all eight of his free throws in 29 minutes at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The 30-year-old's points tally of 38 was a season's best as the 76ers suffered their heaviest defeat of a three-game losing streak.

"We were soft," said Simmons, who had a game-high four turnovers. "The physicality side of things, we gotta step that up. That comes with experience, also just comes with personality.

"Don't get bullied. Fight over screens, get through screens. If you gotta knock somebody over, knock 'em over. If you gotta hit somebody in the face and knock 'em down so they don't score, hit 'em in the face."

"Our defense was poor," accepted 76ers coach Brett Brown. "When you create three turnovers for a game, it's just not a reflection of who we are.

"I think we're the third or the fourth-best defensive team in the NBA. And we weren't even close to that tonight."

Miami had only three turnovers throughout, a joint-lowest number for any side in the NBA this season, as they improved to 34-15.

"I'm never worried about offense," said Butler. "Hell, I'm never worried about defense. All I'm ever worried about is winning."

Devin Booker was the most notable omission as six first-timers won NBA All-Star selection among the 14 reserves named on Thursday.

Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook headlined the list of players selected by NBA coaches to round out the roster options for Team LeBron and Team Giannis.

Phoenix Suns guard Booker was denied a place despite averaging 27.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists through 44 games this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Paul, Houston Rockets star Westbrook, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz youngster Donovan Mitchell snatched Western Conference guard spots, the latter handed his maiden selection alongside team-mate and fellow first-timer Rudy Gobert.

Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis will also be among the newcomers at United Center in Chicago on February 16.

Suns general manager and three-time NBA champion James Jones questioned Booker's absence.

"I've played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All-Star," Jones said in a statement.

Frenchman Gobert's inclusion alongside Sabonis (Lithuania), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Nikola Jokic (Serbia) plus starters Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) lifts the number of international players to eight, a record for an All-Star Game.

The 2020 edition will feature several format changes to honour Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Among them will be a 'target score' to chase in a timeless fourth quarter, the figure being the leading team's tally after three periods plus 24 points - representing the number Bryant wore during the second half of his glittering NBA career.

LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo, the designated captains, will select their teams from the available player pool on February 6.

 

Eastern Conference reserves:

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

Western Conference reserves:

Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

Jimmy Butler gave a withering assessment of T.J. Warren, calling the Indianapolis Pacers forward "trash" after the two clashed in the Miami Heat's bad-blooded road win.

Warren was ejected in the third quarter of the Heat's 122-108 triumph having twice tangled with Butler, who squared up to his opponent and shouted in his direction before blowing him kisses as he walked off.

Speaking afterwards, Butler, who had 14 points, let rip again.

"I think it's tough for him because I can guard him and he can't guard me," he said in quotes published on ESPN.

"At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. I think you just gotta watch your mouth in certain situations. Some s*** you just don't say as a man.

"He gotta see me the next time because I feel like what he said was truly disrespectful, and it's all good cos we see him again."

Butler added: "He's soft.

"He's not even in my f***ing league. Nowhere near me.

"If I was their coach, I would never put him on me. Ever again... He's trash."

Warren did not speak to reporters afterwards and Butler continued to come after him on social media, uploading a picture of the Heat's schedule on Instagram with Miami's next game against the Pacers circled.

Butler wrote: "@t.warren1 don't be mad you can't guard me. We will see what you about in March."

Jimmy Butler is expected to return for the Miami Heat when they face the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

Four-time All-Star Butler missed the 117-108 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday through illness.

However, the 30-year-old guard participated in Miami's shootaround on Friday and the team indicated he will likely be involved against the Warriors in the evening.

"Jimmy Butler (illness) went through this morning's team shootaround and is expected to play tonight vs the Warriors," a tweet from the team's account read.

Butler, in his first year with Miami, is averaging a team-leading 18.9 points per game as well as 6.7 assists for the 12-5 Heat.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown felt Ben Simmons once again demonstrated his "elite" defensive abilities against the Miami Heat, keeping former team-mate Jimmy Butler quiet in Saturday's win.

With Simmons often designated to pick him up, Butler posted just 11 points as he missed nine of his 13 field goal attempts before sitting out the entire fourth quarter as the 76rs won 113-86.

The four-time All-Star was booed by Philadelphia fans in his first game at Wells Fargo Center since his departure. He joined the 76ers via a trade last November but left in the offseason, signing a four-year deal with the Heat.

Josh Richardson – a second-round draft pick by Miami in 2015 – led the way with 32 points for the 76ers, though it was their work without the ball that pleased Brown the most.

Simmons was singled out for special praise, the Australian helping his team move to 11-5 for the season despite contributing just four points on offense.

"What I do know is Ben was elite again defensively. I thought his performance guarding Jimmy was outstanding," Brown told the media.

"When Ben puts his mind to it, and he uncoils and he's six foot 10 and he's strong and he's got desire. I don't care who it is – that's a tough person to have on you."

Asked to assess his own performance, Simmons said: "I think it went well, if you look at the box score."

Joel Embiid had 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Philadelphia make it seven straight wins at home. The center is also developing a greater understanding of his role on defense, according to Simmons.

"He's getting a lot better," he said of Embiid. "Since I've been playing with him, he's definitely improved a lot in that area.

"Reading when the guy comes, it helps, and he's making the right plays."

Manchester United star Paul Pogba watched Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in NBA action.

Pogba is nearing a United comeback, having been sidelined with an ankle problem since late September.

The Red Devils midfielder – who had an ankle cast removed earlier this month – made the most of the international break, travelling to the United States.

France international Pogba was in attendance as the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 109-94 in Miami.

A friend of Heat star Butler, Pogba was gifted a Heat jersey during the clash at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Pogba – who continues to be linked with an Old Trafford exit amid interest from Real Madrid and former club Juventus – has made just five Premier League appearances this season.

Anthony Davis posted a triple-double to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Miami Heat downed the Atlanta Hawks as Jimmy Butler made his debut.

Davis starred with 40 points and 20 rebounds to help the Lakers to a 120-91 win over the Grizzlies in NBA action on Tuesday.

The All-Star – who made a franchise record 26 free throws – recorded his fourth 40-20 career game and became the first Lakers player to accomplish the feat since Shaquille O'Neal in 2003.

LeBron James added 23 points for the Lakers, who improved to 3-1 for the season following three consecutive victories.

Butler made his long-awaited Heat debut in Miami's 112-97 win against the Hawks.

The Miami guard missed the first three games of the year to bond with his newborn daughter but did not miss a beat once he got back on the court.

Butler – who arrived from the Philadelphia 76ers – finished with 21 points, five rebounds, and three steals.

But rookie sensation Tyler Herro also made his presence known with a team-high 29 points and seven rebounds. He scored 19 points off the bench in the second quarter alone.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, Hawks start Trae Young went down with an ankle sprain in the second quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

 

Dragic helps ignite Heat

Miami's Goran Dragic scored 21 points off the bench.

Paul Millsap tallied a game-high 23 points as the Denver Nuggets fell to the Dallas Mavericks 109-106.

 

Reddish struggles as Heat ground Hawks

Atlanta's Cam Reddish scored six points on two-of-10 shooting.

Mavericks star Luka Doncic was held to 12 points on 12 shots.

 

LeBron says no!

James made a sensational block, leading to an alley-oop for Lakers team-mate JaVale McGee.

 

Tuesday's results

Miami Heat 112-97 Atlanta Hawks
Dallas Mavericks 109-106 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 120-91 Memphis Grizzlies

 

Bucks at Celtics

The Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the Boston Celtics from the playoffs last season, but now the latter have a very different group. Are the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo still too hot to handle? That remains to be seen.

Miami Heat recruit Jimmy Butler will miss the team's NBA season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies due to personal reasons.

The Heat made the announcement prior to Wednesday's visit of the Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said "everything is fine" regarding Butler's situation and that "it's all good."

Butler – a four-time All-Star – signed a four-year, $140million deal with the Heat after moving to Miami in a sign-and-trade from the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason.

Last season, Butler was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Sixers just 10 games into the season after he voiced his displeasure with the Minnesota front office.

In 65 games with Minnesota and Philadelphia, the 30-year-old averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

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