There’s no lack of poetry to emerge from Jimmy Butler’s defining performance as a Chicago Bull coming on the heels of (and in rescue of) the team’s worst first half of this oh-so maddening season so far.
It took Butler’s career-high 53 points along with 10 rebounds and six assists (delivered on 15 of 30 shooting, 21 of 25 from the free throw line) to save the Bulls from what would have been deemed one of their most embarrassing losses in recent memory, if not the most lackadaisical effort given by the team all year. A lack of something or an abundance of daze are among the prime symptoms of falling behind 24 to the 76ers or losing to them by 16 at the half.
Energy is not something the Bulls have in abundance right now, but no matter the wavelength that the entire squad sits on, it seems that Butler remains on full “gonna get mine” mode, much like Jamal Crawford, the only other Bull since the Jordan era to notch a half a dollar or more in a game.
As for Jordan, of course much of what Butler did Thursday night allows himself to be put in sentences with MJ regarding rare performance numbers — that’s a fantastic thing for the newly-signed Jordan Brand ambassador.
But as he takes his turn officially as The Franchise on West Madison, seeing games like this by Butler seems to signal just how much the Bulls have rotated back to a team that while featuring a star it can hitch itself to, lacks an overall vision that can allow the fans to envision another Larry O’Brien Trophy entering the United Center any time soon.
When you need Super Jimmy to take down a Sixers team that pretty much counters him with Ish Smith, something isn’t rocking right. It can be argued that one’s outlook on the Bulls can change game to game, but just as steadfastly as Jimmy Gets Buckets, Jimmy’s Gonna have to learn to lead, which means that Jimmy will have to learn to trust those around him.
At this point, he doesn’t, and he has good reason. But when those are the main issues with which you’re dealing with you’re not a basketball team that anyone can expect much from.
The Bulls aren’t a team right now — they’re the Jimmy Butler Experience featuring Jimmy G. Buckets. Just as when the Jordanaires first headlined in Chicago, we’re at a time when we can expect a good show but with little substance. An intermission would be nice right now.
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