Thibs: Butler has some rust to knock off

October, 24, 2013
10/24/13
5:46
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- After missing close to a week and a half because of soreness in his knee, Jimmy Butler made his return to the lineup in Wednesday night's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 12 points in almost 33 minutes. While Butler was happy to be back, Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau obviously saw some flaws in the swingman's game.

"A lot of rust," Thibodeau said of Butler. "A lot of rust. We got to try and shake that off."



When asked specifically what part of Butler's game looked rusty, Thibodeau noted the biggest factor was that Butler hasn't been able to work out much on the floor with his teammates.

"He hasn't practiced," Thibodeau said. "You can't expect to play well if you're not practicing. Defensively we weren't very good. Free throws. He's an excellent free throw shooter, so that will come around but ..."

For his part, Butler was pleased with his ability to contribute alongside Derrick Rose.

"It felt good to be back in the trenches with my guys," Butler said. "It just makes me happy knowing that I can play again."

Butler knows that he still has to work through a few more practices and the final preseason game Friday against the Denver Nuggets to get back to where he wants to be before the regular season starts.

"I feel like my conditioning's up there," he said. "I'm not explosive (the way) I normally would be, but that's going to come with time, a little bit more treatment. But I'm still ready to go."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 3.3 1.5 39.6
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.9
AssistsD. Rose 5.1
StealsJ. Butler 1.5
BlocksP. Gasol 1.9