Butler Plays Hero, as the Bulls Beat Nets

Butler Plays Hero, as the Bulls Beat Nets
Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) looks toward the basket as Brooklyn Nets forward Luis Scola (4) defends during the second half.

Not every win is going to be pretty, but this Bulls team will take them however they can get them. They struggled offensively for most of the night, but Jimmy Butler took over in the last couple of minutes, and hit a jumper as time expired to give the Bulls a 101-99 win over the Nets.

A lot of the talk coming into the game surrounded the injury report, as the Bulls were fully healthy for the first time in months, while the Nets were without Jeremy Lin and his 13.9 ppg. It also featured a sibling rivalry between the Nets’ Brook Lopez and the Bulls’ Robin Lopez.

The Bulls were out of sorts to start the game, as Brooklyn got things started with a 9-0 run out of the gate. Brook Lopez took advantage of his brother, hitting three shots from distance in Robin’s face as the Bulls’ big man struggled to guard him out on the perimeter.

Things weren’t coming much easier for the Bulls on the other end early on, as their shots weren’t falling from anywhere. They shot 17-49 as a team in the first half, and Butler and Dwyane Wade were a combined 6-21 in that period. They would go into the break down 49-46 to a Nets team that entered the game 1-14 away from home.

There wasn’t much excitement in the third quarter, and the Bulls entered the dreaded fourth quarter down two. Once again they’d have to overcome their fourth quarter struggles in a close game. Wade would leave the game with a migraine halfway through the final quarter, and a pair of Nets free throws would put them up 97-90 with three minutes to go. That was when Jimmy Butler fully took over.

The Bulls would get an offensive rebound after a Mirotic miss on the ensuing possession, and Butler would knock down a three to make it a two possession game. They caught a break when Randy Foye missed a pair at the line before Jimmy drew a foul on the other end, and knocked down both of his to cut the lead to two.

After a Sean Kilpatrick turnover, Butler found a cutting Michael Carter-Williams who laid it in for his first made field goal since returning from injury to tie the game. Brook Lopez drove past his brother and hammered home a dunk to tie things back up, and the Bulls would have the opportunity to win it with 12 seconds to go. They inbounded to Butler who dribbled near the top of the key before rising up, and burying a jumper as time expired to seal the win.

After the rough start Butler got back on track to lead the way with 40 points, including making all 11 of his free throw attempts, and grabbing seven rebounds. Wade and Lopez were the only other Bulls in double figures, with 16 and 12 respectively.

The win gets the Bulls back to .500 at 16-16, they’ll finish off the season series against the division rival Indiana Pacers on Friday.

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    Is anyone else excited to see Michael Carter Williams in a Bulls uniform? 2014 ROY...MCW MIP?

  • Yes, I believe that many of us are. No one wins that award by accident. Being the leader of a losing franchise as a rookie was too heavy a load, but playing with Wade and even Rhondo may stimulate his winning ability and willingness to be the best he can be.

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