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Thunder-Grizzlies: How Caron Butler's contributions went beyond a surprising dunk

THUNDER 100, GRIZZLIES 86 — Thunder general manager Sam Presti brought Caron Butler for games like this. A look at the dunk that ignited Oklahoma City’s Game 1 victory.
by Anthony Slater Published: April 20, 2014

/articleid/4083898/1/pictures/2496916">Photo - Oklahoma City's Caron Butler (2) goes by Memphis' Marc Gasol (33) for a dunk as Mike Conley (11) and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) watch during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 19, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Caron Butler (2) goes by Memphis' Marc Gasol (33) for a dunk as Mike Conley (11) and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) watch during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 19, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

But since his arrival, he’s provided the kind of consistent production that only the biggest OKC optimists could have predicted.

In 22 games to end the regular season, he averaged nearly double-digits and shot 44 percent from three. On Saturday, he chipped in with nine important points and five rebounds, coming through in big moments.

“His minutes were good,” Brooks said. “He’s a very good basketball player. Sam (Presti) did a great job picking him up and putting us in this position to have him.”

The greatest indication of Butler’s on-court impact, though, came in the plus/minus column, where he was a game-high plus-18.

With Butler on the court, the Thunder were dominant. And that's why he continues to get a starter’s share of the minutes. He played 31 on Saturday, the fourth-most on the team and 20 more than starting forward Thabo Sefolosha.

And it’s hard to argue with Brooks’ use of the Thunder’s newest contributor. He’s been playing that well.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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