It’s certainly been an interesting week and a half for Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls.
Following a losing streak that included the Bulls dropping back-to-back games against the lowly New York Knicks, an embarrassing loss to the Orlando Magic and a heartbreaker to the Hawks this past Monday, Chicago responded with a big 98-96 win on Tuesday night over the Pacers as Jimmy Butler hit a game-winning 10-footer with 3.7 seconds remaining. They followed that performance with a huge come-from-behind win against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Following a Pacers loss on Thursday and a Pistons loss on Friday, the Bulls now find themselves only one game behind Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and one and a half games behind the Pistons for the seventh seed. It just so happens that the Bulls host the Pistons on Saturday night at the United Center.
Amid all of this, Jimmy Butler has had to deal with the ongoing rumors that he’s on the trading block, but he wants Bulls fans to know that he’s focused on the task at hand: winning basketball games.
“That’s why I’m here. I don’t plan on going anywhere. I can’t control what everybody else does. I know that this is the city that I love, Chicago. And I want to wear that jersey. I want to wear that name on the front, and I wear it proudly. All I got to do is continue to control what I can control. That’s try to help this team win games.”
Despite injuries to Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, Thursday’s win in Houston was a big morale booster for Chicago. The bench players came in and did their jobs and Butler feels that it truly showed what this team has to offer when backed into a corner.
“Fight. I think we fought our way back. We didn’t hang our head even when they went up. And the guys that came in, they came in and did their jobs. So it was a big win.”
The two-time All-Star also feels that the team is coming together as the Bulls attempt to make the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
“Just how together we are. We’re in this. We want to make these playoffs, that push, and even though it should have happened earlier. It’s never too late to make that happen. And I think these guys really bought into it. Every possession, every loose ball and when we’re playing like that, man, I think we’re hard to beat.”
Including Saturday night’s game with Detroit, the Bulls have seven games remaining in the regular season. Chicago owns a 10-7 advantage over the teams that they’ll see over the next 12 days, four of whom have winning records. Following tonight’s action at the United Center, the Bulls will hit the road for three straight games as they take on the Bucks, Grizzlies and Heat before returning to Chicago in a week to host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who may be resting players at that point. They’ll take a quick trip to New Orleans before returning home for their season finale against the worst team in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers, and Jimmy Butler likes their chances and has made a prediction on how things will play out.
“You’ll never hear me say that we’re going to lose. This is my team. This is our team. I like the group of guys that we have. I’m confident that we’ll continue to win games and we’ll find ourselves in the playoffs.”
There you have it. Jimmy Butler says the Chicago Bulls are heading to the playoffs. Do you agree?