Jimmy Butler’s 40-point half breaks Michael Jordan’s Bulls record

By Zach Harper / NBA writer

January 03, 2016 07:01 PM ET

Butler probably told Fred Hoiberg to just give him the ball. (USATSI)

If you were watching the Sunday afternoon game between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls, you were treated to an unbelievable second half. If you happened to miss it, you’ll want to see the unreal scoring binge by Bulls’ wing Jimmy Butler. After scoring just two points and getting a busted lip on a defensive play in the first half, Butler was a bit possessed in the second half.

He put down 21 points in the third quarter alone on his way to 40 points in the second half to lead the Bulls to the victory. Here is the scoring display just from the third:

But the game was still very much in doubt and the Bulls had to erase a second half double-digit deficit to get a tough road victory. When it came down to who they were going to go to for the big bucket with just 35 seconds left and down two points, the obvious choice of feeding the hot hand was pretty easy to make. Butler faced up against DeMarre Carroll in the right corner, waited for Carroll’s hand to be in the cookie jar, and then knocked down the big 3-pointer.

There was simply nothing the Raptors could do to stop him.

Perhaps they should have blitzed him with a double team every time he had the ball, but the Raptors made him beat mostly single coverage and he absolutely did it.

To summarize, Butler had 21 points in the third quarter, 19 points in the fourth and 40 in the second half. His 42 points were just one point shy from tying his career-high. When he talked after the game, he made sure to praise his teammates for giving him space to work. He also made sure not to compare him to Michael Jordan, whose previous franchise record of 39 points in a half is now second place to his Sunday feat.

Not a bad 24 minutes of basketball.


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