PHOENIXHis six points and two steals in eight minutes and 36 seconds of playing time with those statistics occurring in the five minutes and 23 seconds he played in the second quarter may seem insignificant on the surface, but second-year swingman Jimmy Butler played a major role in the Bulls overtime win Wednesday night over the Suns.
At a time when the Bulls were struggling, Butler, inserted to give ironman starter Luol Deng a rest, gave the team a huge lift and while he didnt make an impact in the games deciding moments, hes starting to become a player the team can count on for energy when it needs it most.
I thought Jimmy, in the first half, got things going our way, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. His minutes were huge at the end of the second quarter.
Concurred Deng: Jimmy was great. Jimmy was awesome out there. He made the hustle plays, got us back in the game. The way Jimmy played got us all hype, got us all excited.
Butler provided immediate energy, stealing an in-bounds pass and converting a layup, knocking down an open mid-range jumper and finally, swiping another steal and finishing with a dunk in transition, as part of a 13-0 Bulls run before halftime.
When the Suns called a timeout to put a halt to the proceedings, Butler had a wide smile on his face as his teammates were jumping for joy to congratulate him.
Thats what Im subbed in to do, to play hard, play defense and knock down the open shot, so thats what I did, Butler told CSNChicago.com. "Whenever I score a basket or make a steal like that, you look over there and you see them all jumping around, yelling and carrying on. I guess it gets me hype, too.
I just felt like a lot of things werent going our way, you could say, he continued. When things arent going our way, guys start to get down a little bit, so maybe that spark does help.