Watch: Jimmy Butler ties Stephen Curry with NBA season-high 53 points
Butler’s 53 were the most by a Chicago player since Michael Jordan totaled the same against the Pistons in 1996. He tied Stephen Curry’s league-wide season-high total from October, shooting 15-of-30 from the floor and adding 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Carrying the Bulls to victory after they trailed by as many as 24 points, Butler joined Curry and James Harden (50) in breaking the half-century mark this season. Butler’s 21 made free throws were a league-wide season high, the most in a game since Harden’s 21 on March 23, 2015.
Butler scored 25 in what was largely a hapless first half for his team, then added 26 more as the Bulls saved second-half face against an opponent that had won just four games the entire season. Missing Pau Gasol (rest) and Derrick Rose (knee), Chicago struggled to shoot the ball and leaned even more on its leading scorer to bail the team out.
As time ran out in regulation, Butler was unable to create space for a shot and turned the ball over with the game tied at 104, sending things to overtime. It was reserve guard E’Twaun Moore who bailed him out and took over in the extra period, scoring Chicago’s first seven points. Butler scored the Bulls’ final field goal to finish the night with 53.
Moore finished 6 of 8 from the floor for 14 points. Doug McDermott added 15 more off the bench for the Bulls. Nerlens Noel and Ish Smith scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, to lead the Sixers.
Butler is the first Bull to register 50 since Jamal Crawford accomplished the feat in April 2004. Butler is also the first Bull to put up a 50-point, five-rebound, five-assist game since Jordan in 1993.