Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler did not want to see his team lose its only home game in two weeks.
Butler put the Bulls on his back at the United Center in scoring 37 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and making nine assists. It was a great game for the anointed team leader. Chicago now heads on a 6 game road trip out west that will test the mettle of this team.
Chicago (6-4) needed this game. The Wizards came in under-handed as Bradley Beal sat out with hamstring issues, and John Wall took a seat (rest). The pesky Wizards gave the Bulls all it could handle in the first half, taking a 56-53 lead. Butler had 21 points to pace the Bulls. He scored 11 in the third quarter as Chicago pulled away late with a 11-2 run. Butler scored eight points in the Bulls’ surge.
Nikola Mirotic scored 17 for the home team, Dwayne Wade added 14 points and Taj Gibson chipped in with 13 points.
Doug McDermott left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent concussion as he was fouled hard to the head going to the basket to attempt a lay up. Markieff Morris was called for a flagrant one foul. Mirotic converted both free-throws.
Morris scored a season high 24 points and Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
This was a game where Butler needed to be the focus of the offense. He came through. Butler made 14 free-throws in a great night from the charity strip. Butler has the talent to have these nights and Saturday he showed it.
Chicago now goes on the road for 6 games and plays in Portland early next week. It is an important early season road trip, a chance for players to get to know each other.