The Chicago Bulls led from wire to wire in a sound beating of the Oklahoma City Thunder to gain the season sweep in OKC. In doing so, the offense looked as smooth as it has all year, and head coach Fred Hoiberg, who had come under fire a little from Jimmy Butler, got his job back for Christmas, metaphorically speaking.
For his part, Butler had a tremendous game, scoring 23 points to go with six boards. Rose added 19 points, and Pau Gasol contributed 21 points and 13 boards.
The Thunder pressed near the end to cut a lead that had been as high as 16 down to six, but apart from Kevin Durant (29 point, nine boards and seven assists) and Russell Westbrook (26 points, seven boards and eight assists), and a few three from Anthony Morrow, they just couldn’t generate much.
After the game, Butler was interviewed by Chris Broussard on ABC. Asked if he thought his words to Hoiberg had helped, Butler laughed it off, replying, “When we play like that we got a chance to win every game. We came out and played hard from start to finish. That’s how the Chicago Bulls are supposed to play basketball.”
“Was it part of your plan,” Broussard asked? It wasn’t a part of my plan, but whatever
“It wasn’t a part of my plan, but whatever works, works. I think we got a bunch of talented guys and this tells us how hard we got to play. , on the road, At home, this is how we got to play basketball.”
Asked whether he felt pressure to reform, Butler answered, “No pressure. I think I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do every night. I’m not gooing to play well every night. But I just have to focus on me, this team. I can’t worry about the outside influences. We got a great group of guys, if we play hard together, we can win.”