But Butler’s most important offensive contribution on this night – and the most encouraging sign moving forward – was his ability to take advantage of mismatches in the low post.
With so much length and size at rare positions, the Thunder forced the Nuggets to throw smaller defenders at Butler. He exploited it on multiple occasions, dropping in easy short range jumpers.
“He had that post-up working tonight,” Durant said. “They have that smaller guy on him, and he takes advantage. That’s what we need him to do.”
On Monday, the Thunder played with the kind of confidence, effort and balance that allowed them to not only survive, but thrive without Westbrook before the All-Star break.
Nearly everyone that touched the floor had a positive impact.
“I thought our guys did a good job of really locking in and taking care of business from start to finish,” Brooks said.
Durant’s going to get his. And so is Westbrook, when he’s on the court.
But this team turns from dangerous to deadly when the role players do their thing.
Monday night was the latest example. Denver was the helpless victim.