Butler does it as Chicago Bulls silence Raptors


When a Chicago Bull does something even the legendary Michael Jordan never did, it’s probably going to be one of those nights.

As Jimmy Butler put on a one-half scoring binge never before done by a Chicago player, the Raptors could do little more than lament another game that got away in a crushing 115-113 loss Sunday at the Air Canada Centre.

Butler had 40 points in the second half alone — the most points in a half by a Chicago player in the 40-year history of the franchise — as the Raptors could do nothing to stop him.

DeMarre Carroll, Toronto’s best perimeter defender and the guy who should have been matched with Butler all night, is still on a minute-limit coming back from a sore knee and was defiant after the game.

“I’m going to be quiet on what I really want to say,” said Carroll, who played only 24 minutes and just 10 in the second half. “I take it on myself. I know I’m not all of the way there.”

While Carroll was forced to watch most of the second half, Butler played all 24 minutes and made 12 of 19 field goal attempts, 10 of 11 foul shots and two three-pointers, including a dagger over Carroll with 30 seconds to go to put the Bulls up by one.

“Like I said, I don’t want to speak too much,” Carroll said. “I’m not all of the way there. He did what he’s supposed to do when a guy’s not all of the way there. I’ll see him again. It’s no big deal.”

Butler, who picked up a stitch in his lip thanks to a wayward Carroll elbow in the first half, downplayed the significance of his play even though he carried his team in the absence of guard Derrick Rose.

“I had no idea until somebody told me after the game,” he said of Jordan’s record, 39 points in a half during a game in 1988. “I guess somebody will beat it one of these days coming soon. I don’t want to be compared to him because you see what he’s done for this game.”

Butler had 19 of his points in the fourth quarter, when the Bulls racked up 34. Regardless of who was getting how many points, Toronto simply has to be better defensively when games are on the line.

“If we’re serious about being a defensive team, we can’t give up 34 points in the fourth quarter, you’ve got to put your foot down, put your foot on their neck and close it out,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I thought we had control but we didn’t put our stamp on it in the fourth quarter defensively.”

Even with Butler’s extraordinary performance, Toronto could have buried the Bulls; the Raptors led by five with three minutes left and were up two with 50 seconds to go before some sloppy offensive execution stalled any dramatic comeback bid.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan both missed layups driving into the teeth of the Chicago defence in the final 30 seconds; off-balance looks that could have been better.

DeRozan also had a turnaround three-pointer at the buzzer that got on the rim but wouldn’t go down.

“We were just trying to be aggressive, at least try to get to the basket and get a call but we didn’t get it,” DeRozan said after a 24-point night. “And I thought I got a good look at the end for the three . . . I thought it was good.”

Luis Scola had 22 points for Toronto, as did Lowry on a tough 8-for-22 shooting night.

03/01/2016 19:49  By: TORONTO STAR