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Jimmy Butler confident he will get over slump

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Bobcats

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Bobcats

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Updated: February 28, 2014 6:27AM



Jimmy Butler has been through worse.

Much worse.

At least off the court. On the court, the last few weeks have been as bad as it can get.

His body is sore, his jumper is broken and his confidence has been shaken.

That begets 28 percent shooting (21-for-73) from the field and 11 percent shooting (3-for-27) from three-point range the last six games.

“Yeah, without a doubt, this is the roughest patch I can remember, but I think everything is a learning curve,’’ Butler said. “I sat down with [assistant coach Adrian Griffin], and you know when you’re not making shots, you’ve got to do other things. Your mind could be telling you differently at times, and it does, but you’ve just got to keep playing and figure out a way to put the ball in the basket.’’

And Butler has shown he can do that.

In his breakout season in 2012-13, the 6-7 swingman had a .467 shooting percentage from the field and a .381 percentage on threes. But he hasn’t found that comfort zone with any consistency. Injuries slowed him in training camp, then again the first month of the regular season, so he has been searching, sometimes pressing.

“He’ll bounce back,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Jimmy’s a good player. This is all part of it. I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to go through things like this. Jimmy has had an unusual season in terms of building any rhythm because of all the injuries. But he’ll keep grinding away. He doesn’t have to shoot well for him to play well for us.

“He’s very important to our team. He does a lot of things that may go unnoticed by outsiders. But his teammates and coaches, we all know what he does for us. I think his shot is going to come around.’’

Butler is often first in the Berto Center, last to leave. As for having the toughness to pick himself out of an NBA rut? Please.

Butler’s family background has been well documented since the Bulls drafted him out of Marquette 30th overall in the 2011 draft.

Told by his mother, “I don’t like the look of you; you gotta go,’’ Butler was on his own at 13, borrowing a bed, a room and a pillow from different friends until befriending Jordan Leslie the summer before his senior year in high school.

Leslie’s mother, Michelle Lambert, noticed the way Butler interacted with the rest of the family and knew the youngster needed a break.

They gave him one, making him a part of their family. They’re the only family he knows now.

So no player on the Bulls’ roster is better equipped to overcome troubles.

“It’s a team game; it’s all about winning,’’ Butler said. “I don’t give a damn how I shoot as long as we have more points than the other team.

“We’ll figure it out, though. You’ve got to make shots, I know that, but it’s coming. I just can’t focus on offense. Let my defense lead to offense because you can change the game in so many more ways than just scoring.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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