5️⃣ How Love at the 5 unlocks Butler
After being relegated to the bench with the Highsmith starting lineup insertion, Kevin Love has found a new life as the Heat's backup center. Despite some sparse minutes from Bryant, Love has been the man Spo trusts when Adebayo sits and that has helped Jimmy Butler in his minutes with the second unit.
The Butler - Love duo had the best net rating on the team this past week (players with 30+ minutes together), with a crazy 138.5 offensive rating when both are on the floor. They have a 13.1 net rating for the season with both on the floor, with a 123.0 offensive rating. And those numbers come down to one main thing: space.
Kevin Love forces defenses to pay attention to him out on the perimeter, giving Butler space, because of his ability as a shooter. In the first clip, Wembanyama helps too deep on Butler, who swings the ball back to Love. He fakes his defender and attacks the rim with physical advantage.
Against Brooklyn, same type of action, but this time Love's defender (Claxton) stays with him, allowing Butler to spin to the middle and use his post prowess to his advantage, with only one man on him.
Third clip, Butler again in the post, everyone else spacing out on the opposite side. You can see Claxton thinking about helping, but he's too far away and would give an advantage to the Heat, with Love spacing out.
So, after Butler's explosion, the Brooklyn defenders are focusing on him. Isolated on the wing, Jimmy attacks middle to force the help to come. Sharpe is waiting for him inside and he finds an open Kevin Love for the triple.