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Jimmy Butler told Fred Hoiberg not to take him out in the 4th quarter last night

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Here's Jimmy Butler to Nick Friedell after last night's game saw another 4th quarter slip away:

"I told Fred not to take me out at the beginning of the fourth," Butler said. "I wanted to play because that's when we give up those leads, at the beginning of the fourth. Nothing against my teammates, but I think if I'm out there and I get their energy going the right way, now take me out and let me rest. But the energy's going, the energy's flowing. I think I got to start playing at the beginning of the fourth quarter."

Butler, who played 39 minutes and scored a career-high 36 points, said Hoiberg's message to him was clear.

"[He said] I need a rest," Butler said. "I'm like, 'Man, I can handle an extra 45 seconds to a minute. Just let me get the energy going, get a stop here or there, and get us going in the right direction to start the fourth.'"

It was kind of an odd substitution pattern in that 2nd half. Butler played the first 10 and a half minutes of the 3rd quarter, then sat a little over a minute, then came back for the final back-and-forth of the quarter where he earned a trip to the FT line then the Bulls gave up an Isaiah Thomas and-one to end that period.

So technically Butler would've not been playing the entire second half, a very Thibsian trait, even if he had he played the entire 4th quarter. He's still playing a lot. 2nd in the league in minutes and 1st in the league in distance ran per game. And he's been playing on a sore heel the past couple weeks. But, still, it's a minute and a half less per game than he had been playing the last 2 seasons under Thibs.

So maybe like Jimmy suggested, just an extra minute in that final quarter? Seems like a weird request, and I don't totally buy that Butler would 'show the team the energy' and then sit down while 'momentum' carried the day. As Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie pointed out:

It's important to clarify exactly what happened to start the fourth, because Butler didn't sit for the full 12-2 run. A David Lee lay-up at the 9:15 mark gave the Celtics an 8-2 start, after which the Bulls called a timeout to slow the momentum and get Butler and Pau Gasol back in the game. The Bulls then allowed the Celtics to score the next four points until Butler made a jumper with 6:07 remaining to make it 87-79. In other words, Butler sat while the Celtics built a substantial lead but needed more than three minutes to make a direct impact on the game.

Maybe the right pattern would've been to not sub Butler back in for that final half-minute of the 3rd period, extending the rest into the quarter break so he could play the entire final frame.

Or it's all just masking the real issue, in that Jimmy Butler shouldn't have to always be on the court for the Bulls to not creating fast and substantial deficits. He's playing enough as it is, and I don't think it's a lack of other guys playing 'with energy', just that they're not very good two-way players like he is.