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Jimmy Butler propels struggling Bulls with 52-point explosion

Jimmy Butler may be Fred Hoiberg‘s best ally at this point in time after pouring in a season-high 52 points during Monday night’s 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The 6-foot-7 swingman sparked a Dwyane Wade/Rajon Rondo-less Chicago Bulls to snap a two-game losing streak in the midst of a rumored hot seat for his second-year coach.

Butler was 15-of-24 from the floor and an impeccable 21-of-22 from the free-throw line as he carved the Hornets defense bucket-after-bucket.

“I was just playing basketball,” Butler told ESPN’s Nick Friedell after his best scoring outing of the season. “I didn’t even know how many points I had until the tech. Michael Carter-Williams was like, ‘Yo, get 50.'”

“I just had a groove,” he said.

The Marquette standout became the first Bull to score 50 points in the United Center since Michael Jordan did it back in April 1997. Butler also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, chipped in six assists and nabbed three steals to round out a stellar performance.

The 27-year-old channeled his vintage ’06 Wade making 22 trips to the free-throw line and making the Hornets pay at a 95.4 percent clip.

“That’s just basketball,” Butler said of getting to the line more this year. “That’s just giving what the game takes you, being aggressive. When you got guys around you that make shots, that’s what makes it easy.”

Jimmy Butler is helping his coach tremendously with performances like this as the Bulls have struggled in the month of December, winning 6-of-17 games. Chicago will go as far as he can carry them, and he’s showing he has what it takes to shoulder the load.

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