Twitter Reacts to Jimmy Butler Getting First Rest Since Game 5 vs. Nets

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 8, 2013

May 6, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls small forward Jimmy Butler (21) is pressed by Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the first  half in game one of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The unthinkable happened in Game 2 between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat Wednesday night: Jimmy Butler actually took a rest.

Maybe you were expecting to hear that LeBron James had agreed to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, or that Derrick Rose had decided he wanted to play so badly that he hit the court in his suit and tie.

But for anyone following the Bulls over the past few months (and particularly during the postseason), Butler's unexpected walk to the bench was probably just as surprising.

As coach Tom Thibodeau increasingly recognized Butler's value as a defensive stopper and efficient scorer during the season, the swingman's minutes increased with every passing month. After logging 16 minutes per game in November, Butler's average jumped to 20.3 in December. He played 26.3 minutes per game in January, 26.2 in February and then 30.7 in March.

The big spike came in April, when Butler tallied 42.3 minutes per game.

He didn't ask for a rest, but based on the load he's shouldered thus far—especially after Luol Deng went down with complications from a spinal tap—Butler earned it. After all, he'd been on the court for quite a while.

And the surprise of his in-game breather probably hit Butler just as hard as anyone. He probably forgot that sitting down during a game was even allowed.

Based on the matchup changes that occurred upon his departure from the game, it was obvious why he hadn't missed any court time during Game 1.

Twitter probably isn't the best place for medical diagnoses (or spelling), but plenty of folks chimed in on Butler's condition as he rode the pine for the first time in days. The analysis ranged from "inquisitive" to "macabre."

Hopefully, Butler enjoyed his rest. Sine the Heat increased their lead from five points to nine points in the few minutes that he sat, it's unlikely he'll be visiting the bench again anytime soon.