Blackhawks

Butler understands, embraces role on second unit

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Butler understands, embraces role on second unit

Slowly but surely, Tom Thibodeau is learning to rely on second year reserve Jimmy Butler.
The defensive stopper filled his role to a T on Thursday night, entering the game and shutting down Oklahoma City's second unit and playing his usual superb help defense.
Martin had six points in less than three minutes before Butler even stepped on the court. But Butler, staying within the pace of the game and manning up on Martin, held the Thunder's new sixth man to two points and two turnovers the final nine minutes of the half. Butler was plus-five in the second half, pulling the Bulls within one at halftime.
"I feel like whenever I get out there I try to the best of my ability to not let my guy score, while at the same time playing good help defense. I feel like that's my role on the team so I've got to stick to that."
It's true Butler has seen the court this season to lock down opponents, but his rising confidence can be seen on the other end of the court as well.
Butler won't be challenging Kevin Durant, who scored 24 point last night, to a scoring title any time soon, but he said his calm and free demeanor on the court, letting the game come to him, has helped his offense.
"Just find the holes and space out and shoot the open jumper," he said. "Crash the boards, cut, get to the line. Just my style of game, so I've got to keep doing that."
Butler scored five points on 2-of-5 shooting and added a subtle-yet-career-best three assists. He grabbed two offensive rebounds, made both his free throws and turned the ball over once on a questionable offensive goaltending violation.
Butler finished Thursday night with a - of negative one, but he has proved early on his worth as a complement to the offensive-minded Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli, who had a negative 18 plus-minus in six minutes. If he can produce offensively, even in limited quantities like he did last night, his minutes per game could see an increase as well.
"My confidence is up there. I'm extremely comfortable out there, I'm not worried about anything, I'm not thinking too much. I'm just playing basketball. It's fun and I feel like I'm coming around little-by-little."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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