Monday NBA Roundup: Jimmy Butler Proving What We Knew About Bulls All Along

January 2nd, 2017 by Grant Hughes Leave a reply »

Unconstrained by high-usage veterans or ball-dominant curmudgeons, Jimmy Butler led the Chicago Bulls to a 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

And throughout the transcendent performance, it was impossible to avoid a troubling thought: This is how it should have been all along.

Butler pumped in a season-high 52 points to go with 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block. He did it all, setting the high-energy tone with hustle plays on defense and bailing out an otherwise overwhelmed offense when it needed him.

One late-game sequence typified his impact.

Following a futile Chicago offensive possession terminated by a hopeless Nikola Mirotic heave as the shot clock sounded, Butler attacked, scored and drew the foul shot that tied the game. This from a guy who should have been (and was) utterly exhausted by then.

Asking Butler to do this—take as many shots as any other two Bulls combined, absorb the contact that led to 22 free throws, defend three positions, lead the team in rebounding, etc.—is ridiculous. But it was never unr ...

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