Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler feasted against the worst team in the NBA on Thursday night, dropping a career-high 53 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls needed almost each and every one of those points in a 115-111 overtime win.
As he continues his takeover as the face of the Bulls franchise, Butler shot 15-of-30 from the field with a pair of three-pointers while going 21-of-25 from the free-throw line.
Butler became the first Bulls player to reach the 50-point mark in a while, as Bulls Radio's Jeff Mangurten pointed out:
And Butler's 53 were the most by a Bulls player in even longer, according to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell:
That's not all, according to the NBA:
Butler's performance in Philadelphia put him in elite company, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:
Prior to the game, the Bulls weren't sure if Butler was even going to play Thursday, per Friedell:
Philadelphia couldn't stop him from any part of the floor. The Bulls showed a replay of a monster drive to the hoop over 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor:
And Butler was doing it with flair, as NBA on Def Pen noted:
Bleacher Report shared highlights of Butler's night:
Rapper Jae Millz was watching:
Soccer player Patrick Doody of the Chicago Fire was watching, too:
Former Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs seemed unfazed by Butler's performance:
Barstool's Dan Katz was more excited:
It wasn't a bad night for a player who went 30th overall in the 2011 draft. Troy Machir of Sporting News pointed out some of the men taken before Butler:
This has to be an exciting sight for Bulls fans, who have Butler locked up in red and black until the end of the 2019-20 season. A performance like this will further endear the guard to Chicago fans as his numbers continue to get better and better.
At 26 years old, Butler is just warming up.
For head coach Fred Hoiberg, it doesn't get much better than that, per Friedell:
And he was going to stay with him until the very end, via Friedell:
After playing 49 minutes on Thursday night and willing the Bulls back from a 24-point deficit, Butler remained unfazed, per Def Pen Sports:
Butler told reporters that being down so much to the league's worst team did not bring out the best in Hoiberg at halftime, per Friedell:
Yes, this was a come-from-behind victory against a much weaker team, but Butler showed the league something Thursday night. Even in one of its worst performances of the season, Chicago found a way to win by getting behind its best man. That's the mark of a pretty good team and an even better player.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.