Jimmy Butler 'a man possessed' in record-breaking performance


Jimmy Butler 'a man possessed' in record-breaking performance

By Jessica Patton

TORONTO — Jimmy Butler might have bested Michael Jordan’s record, but don’t compare the two just yet.

With 40 points in the second half to lead the Bulls' 115-113 comeback victory against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Butler eclipsed Jordan’s record of 39, something that he didn’t even know until after the game.

‪“I am just happy we won to tell you the truth. I don’t want to be compared to him because you’ve seen what he’s done for this game,” a smiling Butler said.

“I made a couple of shots. It shows how much confidence my teammates and my coach has in me to put the ball in my hand late.”

The 26-year old had been held to just two points before taking a DeMarre Carroll elbow to the face that caused him to leave the game and get stitched up.

When he returned, the Texas native was an animal, shooting fade away shots, hitting 3-pointers and getting to the free-throw line. It almost appeared as if Butler could do no wrong.

Put simply by teammate Taj Gibson, “He came back a man possessed.”

[MORE BULLS: Jimmy Butler drops record 40 points in second half to fuel Bulls comeback]

Pau Gasol, who has witnessed a lot of great performances in his 14 years, ranked Butler’s play high on his list, not for the points the guard tallied but for how and when he scored.

“He did it in a very efficient way, and he did it in a way that was critical for us to win the ball game,” explained Gasol, who had 19 points. “It’s not that you’re up 20 and suddenly you get hot, you make shots, shoot a low percentage and still score a lot of points. He did it in a way that was critical for us and just played an incredible second half for our team.”

Butler was sensational on the offensive end, adding five assists to his 42 points, but he was equally strong on the defensive end, proving he is one of the best all-around guards in the NBA. His defensive awareness held DeMar DeRozan to just two points in the fourth quarter and frustrated Kyle Lowry at times, as well.

“He did it on both ends,” Gasol said. “To me that’s even more impressive, that you’re not guarding a non-threat offensively.”

While Butler knows Carroll didn’t punch him on purpose, the four-year veteran was a little mad that he ruined his swagger. The hit left him with a lacerated lip that was already visibly swollen after the game and according to Butler will force him to “not go on a date for a while.”

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Once the final buzzer sounded, ending the victory for the Bulls and putting Butler in the record books, the team came together after the game to make sure they took in the moment.

“We were just talking about, 'We have to build off of this, don’t settle,'” Butler explained when asked about the huddle. “Try to win as many games as possible.”

Next up for the Bulls is a game against the division-rival Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. All eyes will be on Butler to see how he follows up his record-breaking show.

“My confidence is always high. I know how much work I put in in the summertime. I am not going to make the shots every night, but I have to be able to change the game in different ways.

“Tonight was one of those nights where I made the shots go in.”

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

The hits keep coming for the Bulls, and after the latest one it might be time to fire up the 2019 mock drafts.

Fred Hoiberg revealed Tuesday before practice that point guard Kris Dunn suffered a moderate sprain of his left MCL in Monday’s loss to the Mavericks and will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks.

“To have him out of the lineup for an extended period, it’s extremely difficult,” Hoiberg said. “When you have a guy who is out there and really made strides over the course of last season and the summer he had and the way he played during training camp, it’s difficult to miss him.”

It’s yet another freak injury for Dunn, who suffered the injury midway through the second quarter while landing after a layup over DeAndre Jordan. Last year Dunn suffered a dislocated finger in the preseason and then suffered a concussion that cost him 11 games. A toe injury then ended his season as the tanking Bulls shut him down for the final 14 games.

But Dunn was expected to play a significant role in Year 2 of the Bulls’ rebuild. As well as leading the team in assists and being the most sure-handed closer, Dunn’s defensive prowess was going to help a Bulls team that finished 29th in efficiency and lost David Nwaba, perhaps their second best defender, in the offseason.

Even prior to Dunn’s injury the Bulls had been addressing the position behind him, claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers on Oct. 14 and signing Shaq Harrison on Sunday. They opted to keep Ryan Arcidiacono on the final roster and will now rely on some combination of those three behind Cam Payne, who tied a career high with 17 points on Saturday against the Pistons.

That’s why Dunn’s injury could affect the team more than Lauri Markkanen’s or Denzel Valentine’s. The Bulls were able to cover up Markkanen’s absence with Bobby Portis and free agent acquisition Jabari Parker, while they invested a first-round pick in wing Chandler Hutchison and guaranteed Antonio Blakeney’s contract over the summer.

There’s quantity on the Bulls’ depth chart behind Dunn, but quality is another story.

“Cam had his best game of maybe his career a couple games ago against Detroit,” Hoiberg said. “He has some things he can build on. The biggest thing at that position is you have to get us organized at both ends of the floor. That’s where Kris had taken a big step in the right direction with that. Arcidiacono is one of the better communicators and hardest-playing guys on our team. We’ve got guys who have some starting experience. It’s big shoes to fill. But I’m confident our guys will give great effort.”

It could mean more ball-handling responsibilities for Zach LaVine, who has been a terror in pick-and-roll sets three games into the season. Though he’s only averaged 2.7 assists, the Bulls offense has been humming, with his 32.3 points per game leading the way. Using LaVine as a primary ball handler could allow Hoiberg to run a point guard-less offense and mix and match the other backcourt position.

They’ll have to do it on the fly. The group of point guards the Bulls will face in the next 11 days include Kemba Walker (Charlotte) twice, Trae Young (Atlanta), Steph Curry (Golden State), Jamal Murray (Denver), Darren Collison (Indiana) and James Harden (Houston). It could get a lot worse for the Bulls before it gets any better, and with Markkanen, Valentine and now Dunn on the mend. 

For those looking into such things three games into the season, the Bulls are currently tied with the Thunder, Cavaliers and Lakers for the worst record in the league. The NBA changed its Lottery rules for this upcoming season, with the three worst teams in the league all sharing the same odds at receiving the top pick in the draft.

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

There are diehard Michael Jordan fans.

And then there's this guy.

Forget anybody getting a tattoo of their favorite team's championship trophy. Forget the people who wait for hours in terrible weather just to catch a glimpse of their favorite player.

This dude has a constant, 24/7 reminder of "His Airness":

Yep, that is a full tattoo of a Jordan "23" jersey on his back, complete with a Michael Jordan "autograph" in the middle of the "2." 

Dedication at its finest.

Couple questions: 

A) Does it carry over to the front at all? And if not, is that a plan for the future?

2) Will one of his buddies get a "45" Jordan jersey tattoo or are we just gonna continue to pretend that era never happened?

D) What will that tat look like in a few years? That guy better stay away from the Doritos...