Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor
To the surprise of many, the Chicago Bulls appear poised to knock off the Brooklyn Nets and advance to the second round.
A huge reason is what will forever be known as "The Nate Robinson Game," a triple-overtime affair in which the three-time Slam Dunk Contest winner scored 23 fourth-quarter points to bring his team back from the jaws of defeat to an improbable victory.
A less-heralded cause, however, is Jimmy Butler.
While Luol Deng and Joakim Noah (rightfully) receive much of the credit for the Bulls' ability to stay afloat this season without Derrick Rose, Butler deserves praise as well.
He was solid all season, and that has carried over to the postseason.
It is fitting, then, that his biggest play has similarly gone largely unnoticed.
The Nate Robinson Game wouldn't have even come in a victory if not for a game-saving block by Butler at the end of regulation. Even after all of Robinson's heroics, Deron Williams had one last shot to win. With the game tied at 111, he drove right, pulled up and barely rimmed out a jumper.
Gerald Wallace was right there for the putback, however.
Wallace elevated, got the board and had an easy layup.
Then, out of nowhere came Jimmy Butler, with expert timing and Paul George length, to stop Wallace from putting in an easy game-winner.
It's the type of subtle stuff that coach Tom Thibodeau says he sees from Butler all the time while watching film, according to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago.
Then there is the glaringly obvious stuff: the 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) shooting and 11.2 points per game he is averaging so far this postseason.
The second-year pro still has a ways to go to become a true factor offensively, but the rise of Butler may be one silver lining this year for a Bulls team that has been riddled with injuries all season long.