It’s been nine days since Jimmy Butler missed a second of a Bulls game. With Luol Deng out and Kirk Hinrich likely out for Game 2 against the heat tonight, it’s a reasonable expect Butler will play 48 minutes for the fourth straight game.
How is he preparing? Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘Rest, rest and more rest,’’ Butler said Tuesday. ‘‘Maybe sit outside in the sun instead of in your hotel room. But definitely stay off your feet.’’
‘‘It definitely is [surreal],’’ said Butler, who was drafted 30th overall in 2011 out of Marquette. ‘‘This whole experience is. Being from a small town in Texas, nobody knowing or expecting me to be in this position — an NBA starter playing 48 minutes in a playoff game — nobody ever thought that would happen in a million years. Hell, I didn’t believe it when I was in Tomball.’’
Only LeBron James, Dan Majerle, Nick Van Exel and Allen Iverson have played more 48-minute games in a single postseason since 1986. With at least four games left in the playoffs for the Bulls, Butler could tie LeBron with seven 48-minutes games.
But LeBron might be the biggest obstacle to Butler keeping his streak alive. Butler fared well in Game 1 – posting 21 points and 14 rebounds and defending LeBron relatively well – but continuing to guard LeBron will certainly be exhausting and require at least a short break. Right?