The previous record of 39 was set by none other than Michael Jordan, and Bleacher Report shared this graphic depicting the two Bulls stars:
Jimmy Butler went OFF today. pic.twitter.com/15iHKoNYMx— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 3, 2016
Butler, who was averaging 21.1 points per game heading into the contest, finished with 42 points, five assists and four rebounds.
His amazing second half not only gave him the record, but it helped Chicago overcome a 12-point halftime deficit. His free throw with four seconds remaining pushed the lead to two, before Toronto's DeMar DeRozan missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Twenty-five seconds earlier, Butler nailed this three-point shot that turned a two-point deficit into a 112-111 lead that Chicago did not relinquish:
As K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune noted, the 26-year-old guard's night mirrored Jordan's franchise-record performance:
Michael Jordan's previous franchise record of 39 points in a half also occurred in the 2nd half on Feb. 16, 1988.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 3, 2016
One of Butler's teammates, Taj Gibson, was impressed with the performance, per Johnson:
Taj Gibson on Butler: "He just couldn't miss. It was unbelievable."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 3, 2016
Butler, who's in his fifth year in the league—all with Chicago—has started all 164 games he's played for the Bulls the past two-plus seasons. He also has increased his scoring average every year he's been in the league.
Butler and the Bulls improved to 20-12 after their fourth win in a row.