By Jerry Wein

But no Sixers brain fart has defined this franchise more than the 2019 decision to let Jimmy Butler walk into free agency and play for the Heat.

Then-coach Brett Brown preferred woeful Ben Simmons, his best friend’s son, who turned out to be a cancer on the franchise when he choked in the 2021 playoffs and held out for 54 games the next year, forcing a trade for James Harden.

You think the Sixers would have lost both games 6 and 7 to Boston in the East semis, which just ended, if Butler were still on the Sixers?

Not a chance.

So the Sixers are on vacation and the Heat are playing the Celtics in the East finals.

Butler finished last night’s win over the Celtics with 35 points, seven assists, five rebounds, six steals and two triples.

Butler led all scorers. and he was lethal on defense yet again thanks to a game-high six swipes.

Jayson Tatum’s 51-point Game 7 eruption in the second round was phenomenal, and Anthony Davis’s dominant effort on both ends of the floor against Golden State was admirable.

It’s hard to argue that Butler hasn’t been the most impactful player in this year’s playoffs. His consistently excellent performances have taken the No. 8 seed Heat to within three wins of a second Finals appearance in four seasons. The Heat can go up 2-0 with a win Friday, but in order to do so, Jimmy Buckets will need to stay hot. At this point, we wouldn’t bet against him.

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