Jimmy Butler was the best player on the court in Game 1 against Boston Sunday.
Yes, he dropped 30 on the Celtics (23 in the second half), but the bigger role may have been as defender on the always-dangerous Isaiah Thomas, who had another monster game but was blocked on a shot by Butler late.
Dwyane Wade saw all that from Butler, and it reminded him of a guy he used to play with in Miami. Via our old friend Sean Highkin, now of the Athletic.
Let’s be clear: Butler is no LeBron. Butler is an All-NBA level player, but LeBron is a transcendent, generational, all-time talent.
That said, Wade’s point about a taller defender who can hang with a quick little point guard and use that length to disrupt is a huge advantage is a great one. Erik Spoelstra did use LeBron that way. Gregg Popovich uses Kawhi Leonard that way.
If Butler keeps having games like this, it’s going to be rough on the Celtics this round.