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Jimmy Butler shines against Suns

Butler again stepped up with Derrick Rose sidelined, and the Bulls star is ready for Stephen Curry.

With Derrick Rose sitting because of an ankle injury, the Bulls needed Jimmy Butler to step up in a big way in order to come up with a tough road win over the Suns to start a mercifully short Circus Trip. As he's been wont to do, Butler was up to the challenge, going for a season-high 32 points (in a Thibs-ian 43 minutes) in a 103-97 victory.

Butler did his finest work in the fourth quarter when the Bulls needed him most (14 points in the frame). After the Suns had erased a 17-point deficit, the Bulls star went to work on rookie Devin Booker. Butler got the youngster up in the air with a pump fake and drew two free throws that he made. Then he did it again at the same spot on the floor:

Apparently Booker had been trash-talking Butler, which is quite the rookie mistake considering we're talking about a guy who barely plays yapping at a max player:

Later in the fourth quarter, with the Bulls clinging to a four-point lead after a #NationalTVKirk three, Butler got big again. This was my favorite play of the game:

Butler followed this up with a tough step-back jumper and a dagger three to ice the game. It was also amusing to see him get his last two points on a fast-break dunk in the final seconds after he got mad about the Hornets doing something similar, but this was literally a free two points with nobody around him so whatever.

Butler continues to be the Bulls' best player by a rather wide margin, and he's made so many plays this season to help an inconsistent squad secure victories. Whether it's with his defense or putting the ball in the basket, this guy does it all.

With the defending champs up next on the docket, Butler will need to bring his "A" game yet again. He's ready for it:

That'll be fun to watch...hopefully.