Dwyane Wade says the Bulls are fortunate to have Jimmy Butler
BOSTON — There aren’t many players in the NBA who can do what Bulls star Jimmy Butler does.
No one knows that more than teammate Dwyane Wade.
‘‘It’s good to be able to have a guy like that, to say, ‘Get us 30 [points] and then go guard the guy who has 30,’ ’’ Wade said Monday, a day after the Bulls defeated the Celtics to take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Wade named the handful of players in the league who can fill up the scorebook and guard the opposing team’s best scorer.
‘‘Jimmy, Paul [George], Kawhi [Leonard], Draymond [Green], LeBron [James] — I’m sure I’m leaving someone out,’’ Wade said. ‘‘So there’s some guys that can do that, and we’re fortunate to have one of them.’’
When Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg wants to slow down 5-9 guard Isaiah Thomas in a key moment against the Celtics, the 6-7 Butler will be on him.
‘‘I had the luxury of playing with a guy named LeBron [with the Heat], and we did the same thing when we played [the Bulls] and Derrick Rose [in the Eastern Conference finals in 2011],’’ Wade said. ‘‘You have a point guard that guards them, but you [also] have a guy that’s longer, just as fast, all those things. It gives them a different look; it kind of throws off things.
‘‘I mean, you’re not going to slow down Isaiah Thomas. He’s getting his looks, and the guy can score as good as anybody you know in this game. [But] if you can give the offense a different look, they go out a little further, it takes a little more time off the [shot] clock, all those things help.’’
There were two key moments Sunday in which Butler was assigned to Thomas — once in the second quarter and again in the last five minutes of the game. Thomas scored only once in the fourth quarter when Butler stayed exclusively on him.
Staying the course
Even though backup Bobby Portis (19 points, 8-for-10 shooting, nine rebounds) outplayed starter Nikola Mirotic (four points, 1-for-9 shooting) in Game 1, Hoiberg said the starting lineup and rotation will stay the same for Game 2.
‘‘Bobby, he’s really been comfortable in that bench role,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘Niko has obviously had some big games for us as a starter. We’ll start the same way and hope we get production from both those guys.’’
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Thomas plans to play in Game 2 on Tuesday, then head to Washington state to be with his family and help complete funeral arrangements for his sister, Chyna, who died in a one-car accident Saturday outside Tacoma.
Thomas attended the Celtics’ film session and short walkthrough Monday but didn’t speak with the media. Stevens said no funeral date has been set, but the Celtics plan to attend.
‘‘They care about one another and they support one another,’’ Stevens said. ‘‘That’s what you hope you have in a team, but it’s probably not always the case.’’
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