Butler eclipses Jordan record as Bulls edge Raptors

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 03, 2016 8:31 PM

(The Sports Xchange) - Jimmy Butler on Sunday went where no other Chicago Bulls player had been before, not even the legendary Michael Jordan.

The shooting guard scored 40 of his 42 points in the second half -- including the go-ahead jumper with 30.6 seconds remaining -- and the Bulls came back to defeat the Toronto Raptors 115-113 in a game they had trailed by 15.

The 40 points were a Bulls' club record for a half. Jordan set the record with 39 points in the second half against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 16, 1989.

"I'm just happy we won, to tell the truth," Butler said. "I don't want to be compared to (Jordan) because you see what he's done for this game.

"I had no idea (about the record) until somebody told me after the game. I guess somebody will beat it one of these days coming soon."

If Butler tried to downplay his feat, Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg was having none of it.

"I'll say this, it's the best performance I've seen coaching," Hoiberg said.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey wasn't as overjoyed.

"We tried everything and couldn't get him stopped," Casey said. "It still felt like he had control of the game."

Not even an elbow in the face late in the first half from Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll could stop him.

"I was mad, but I just came out and was aggressive after that," Butler said.

Center Pau Gasol added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls (20-12) with forward Nikola Mirotic scoring 17 points.

"Dominant," Gasol said of Butler's performance. "Outstanding. It was an incredible second half that he had. I guess that elbow in the mouth really ticked him off.

"He carried the load offensively, he made a lot of big shots, big plays. Obviously, scoring 40 in the half, it's something you don't see every day, so I'm just proud of him."

Guard DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points but missed his three-point shot for the win at the final buzzer.

Butler also did a good job guarding DeRozan, who scored only seven points in the second half, including two in the fourth quarter.

"(Butler) did it at both ends," Gasol said. "To me that's even more impressive that you're not guarding a non-threat offensively."

Said DeRozan: "It was amazing, you have to give him credit. He got hot and we tried to contain him. Once you're scoring and get hot, it doesn't matter what you do from there."

Forward Luis Scola and point guard Kyle Lowry each scored 22 points for Toronto (21-14). Lowry added 10 assists.

Guard Cory Joseph added 13 points and forward Carroll had 10 for the Raptors.

With the game tied at 109, Lowry hit a turn-around jumper with 40.9 seconds left to give Toronto the lead.

Butler came back with his three-pointer and the Bulls led 112-111.

"He hit a tough shot," Lowry said. "He's not known just to make threes. I thought he was going to drive baseline but he ended up pulling. He's a good player and he hit a bit shot."

(Editing by Andrew Both)