Kevin Love: ‘I’ll take Jimmy Butler over pretty much anybody in the league when it comes down to winning’'
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Miami Heat forward Kevin Love had some major praise for Jimmy Butler following Miami’s win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Love, who has played with some great players in his NBA career, including LeBron James, said that he’d take Butler over just about anyone in the NBA when it comes down to winning a game.

Butler willed the Heat to a victory on Saturday, scoring 35 points in an impressive display of shooting. The six-time All-Star was 12-for-16 from the field in the game and added 12 assists.

With Bam Adebayo out of the lineup due to an injury, Butler took it upon himself to keep the Heat in the race for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Love, who began the year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has played with James, Kyrie Irving, Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in his NBA career, so he clearly has immense respect for Butler to potentially put him at No. 1 on this list.

Since coming to the Heat prior to the 2019-20 season, Butler has led Miami to the NBA Finals once, Eastern Conference Finals twice and the postseason in three straight seasons. He’s hoping to make it four straight in the 2022-23 season.

Through 62 games this season, Butler is averaging 22.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Although he wasn’t named to the All-Star team this season, Butler has played like an All-Star, especially over the final stretch of the 2022-23 campaign.

Butler is averaging 26.8 points per game while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range over his last 12 games.

Love chose to come to Miami after agreeing to a buyout with Cleveland this season, and he seems to be enjoying playing alongside Butler and his competitive spirit.

Entering Sunday’s NBA action, Miami was 1.5 games back of the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 6 seed. Brooklyn takes on the Utah Jazz on Sunday, and the team could push the lead back to two games with a win.

The Heat and Butler have just four games left to make up ground on the Nets and avoid the play-in tournament in the East.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.