Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler Asked To Come In Earlier During Loss To Boston


Chicago Bulls SG Jimmy Butler and Fred Hoiberg aren’t getting along too well right now.

Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler apparently asked to go in at the start of the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics, and his request was shot down by Fred Hoiberg. This is another example of the coach not communicating that well with his team, and we must start to wonder if there are some deeper issues at root here.

The game was evened up at 75 points a piece when Butler made his thoughts clear, but Hoiberg was intent on resting the player who went on to score a season high (36) in points. The Celtics ended up going on a 12-2 run, and the rest was basically a moot point for the Bulls as they lost 105-100. You have to wonder whether Jimmy’s words were calling out his coach or just trying to affect a change in operations in the future.

“I told Fred not to take me out at the beginning of the fourth,” Butler said to ESPN. “I wanted to play because that’s when we give up those leads, at the beginning of the fourth. Nothing against my teammates, but I think if I’m out there and I get their energy going the right way, now take me out and let me rest. But the energy’s going, the energy’s flowing. I think I got to start playing at the beginning of the fourth quarter.”

Those are some aggressive words from Jimmy, and it is hard to argue with his logic after what happened in the match. Butler played a team-high 39 minutes in the game, so you can see why Hoiberg was hesitant to put his swingman out there early. You have to remember though, that these are players who mainly grew up around Tom Thibodeau. They are used to their minutes being pushed to the maximum, and so Hoiberg’s approach is clearly something they are still adjusting to. Take a look at the highlights for yourself if you missed the game.

Isaiah Thomas was key to the victory for Boston. He scored all of his 20 points in the second half, and nine of those came in the last three minutes of regulation. Their overall team effort was impressive, and Brad Stevens has done a phenomenal job without having one traditional superstar to work around. It is unclear if Jimmy playing more would have made a difference due to how lackadaisical Chicago looked at times, but Hoiberg wouldn’t budge.

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“[He said] I need a rest,” Butler said and apparently talked with Hoiberg at length about this after the game. “I’m like, ‘Man, I can handle an extra 45 seconds to a minute. Just let me get the energy going, get a stop here or there, and get us going in the right direction to start the fourth.'”

The Bulls are now on a three-game losing streak, and they will need to raise their energy level in order to crack this and put themselves back into the mix for contention. The signs certainly don’t look good right now; their defense allowed 30 points in the fourth quarter in Saturday’s loss to Charlotte and an abysmal 42 points to Phoenix on Monday in the final period.

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The Bulls latest loss puts them at no. 8 overall in the Eastern Conference right now, and they are just half a game ahead of the Orlando Magic. Chicago next plays the Los Angeles Clippers, and this will be a crucial game for turning the season around. Hopefully, Hoiberg and Butler will get onto the same page again, and if they can do that, then the Bulls will have a chance of playing their way back into a groove once more.