Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics: Instant Analysis, Highlights
Feb 19 2017
Butler and Thomas had 29 points and seven assists each.
"It's what he wants", Hoiberg said of the burden Butler carries for the Bulls. And never was that more evident than in the waning seconds, after which Butler's confidence meter maxed out at "Peak Jimmy".
Butler calmly drained each free throw, and Al Horford air-balled a baseline jumper on the Celtics' last shot, giving Chicago (28-29) consecutive wins against Eastern Conference powers Toronto and Boston (37-20).
To fully understand Smart's frustrations, you have to recognize that Smart is nearly singularly focused on winning games so having a victory ripped away like that did not sit well with him.
His activity around the rim was huge for the Bulls, as he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds with two blocked shots. This game also gave us a supremely cold-blooded burn: This high-five in Marcus Smart's face, right after the foul was called at the end of the game.
Butler hit both free throws to cement a 104-103 Bulls win.
The Bulls will now enjoy a week off before they return to the floor on February 24 against the Phoenix Suns as they seek to make a postseason push over the final two months of the regular season.
Of course, Butler doesn't see it that way, as Celtics guard Marcus Smart touched Butler's elbow on his release and could have affected a shot that hit the front rim-and the National Basketball Association agreed in its two-minute report released Friday afternoon.
Speaking on ESPN's First Take, the 2015 Most Improved Player said the one player he would like to play with is Kyrie Irving.
"When Jimmy shot the ball I heard him scream, 'No foul?'" Smart said of the deciding play. "Hopefully, we get back to that here soon when the break's over and hopefully, we can have a good stretch run".
"Tonight we got lucky", said big man Taj Gibson. "I played helluva great defense right there". Wade was the only inactive player on the roster, however, since Nikola Mirotic was back from the back spasms that had kept him out for two games.
The Bulls won't play until next Friday when they host the Suns before traveling to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers Saturday. Chicago lost 115-97 at Phoenix last Friday night.
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