suntimes
COMFY 
Weather Updates

Jimmy Butler sets franchise record, plays 60 minutes in Bulls’ 3-OT win

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: January 16, 2014 10:10AM



ORLANDO – Jimmy Butler doesn’t usually do post-game interviews right after a game.

It’s shower first, talk second.

Hard to do on Wednesday with legs that wouldn’t allow him to get off the locker room carpet.

“You all can get me now because I ain’t moving off this floor,’’ Butler said to the waiting media.

That’s what happens after setting a franchise-record with 60 minutes played, as the Bulls uglyed-out another win, this time beating Orlando 128-125 in triple overtime.

Asked afterward if he ever thought he would get 60 minutes of work in one game, Butler, who finished with 21 points, including the two free throws to ice the game in the final seconds, said, “No I haven’t, but I can’t complain. Ask and you shall receive if it’s with Thibs.’’

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has his own explanation, and that started with the Bulls being short-handed with not only Luol Deng shipped to Cleveland last week, but Carlos Boozer fighting flu-like symptoms that limited him to 28 minutes and 23 points.

According to Thibodeau, with no true stars to finish games, it’s whoever has the hot hand. Butler’s intangibles made him that 60-minute man.

“Carlos not feeling well, coming in and playing well,’’ Thibodeau said. “Mike [Dunleavy] a big three [at the end of the first overtime], Joakim [Noah] was just incredible throughout. Just an incredible performance by him. Jimmy, 60 minutes, named after a TV show I guess, because he was awesome. He just battled the entire time.’’

He had to, because Orlando didn’t get the memo that they were just a 10-win team.

It started with the Bulls having no answer for the backcourt of Jameer Nelson and rookie Victor Oladipo, allowing the two to combine for 66 points.

With 1:52 left in regulation, it was Nelson who cut the lead to just 98-97, forcing Thibodeau to call a timeout.

After the two offenses suddenly stalled, it was D.J. Augustin who gave the Bulls (18-19) some breathing room, hitting a three-pointer with 1:07 left. The Bulls had a chance to stretch the lead out to four with 23 seconds left, but Noah’s layup missed, giving Orlando the ball and a final chance to make the night uncomfortable for the Bulls.

That they did, as Nelson hit a fade-away two-pointer over Noah to tie the game with 11.2 seconds left. Butler was tied up trying to take the ball to the rim and play hero, leading to two jump balls and the end of regulation.

Dunleavy bailed the Bulls out with a three-pointer late in the first overtime, and Orlando’s Glen Davis bailed the Magic out with a three at the end of the second overtime.

That’s where the Bulls finally ended it, thanks to a Tony Snell jumper with 48 seconds left to put them up 126-125. Davis tried a last second shot from deep, and when he missed it Noah grabbed the rebound, giving the Bulls the ball back with 1.5 seconds left. That’s when Butler iced the game from the free throw line.

“We’re grimy and we play as a team,’’ Butler said. “There’s not one guy that doesn’t give all his effort on every single play.’’

Butler would know.

“No,’’ Butler responded, when asked if he knew about the minutes played record. “I was just thinking, ‘Please win this game so I can go to the locker room, sit down, put ice bags on my knees and not move for a little bit.’ ‘’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.