Jimmy Butler: My performance of late 'saddening, terrible'

CHICAGO -- Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler called his recent play "terrible" in the wake of his team's most recent loss, a 115-107 clunker to the lowly New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

"I know this is a team game, but if one of your so-called best players is not doing what he's supposed to do, that's what's going to happen," Butler said.

Butler, who has struggled since returning to the lineup March 14 after an ongoing knee issue, was asked if he was referring to himself.

"Yeah," he said. "You see the way I've been playing lately. It's saddening. It's piss-poor. It's terrible. My teammates won't say it, my coaches won't say it, but I'm a realist. If I continue to play like this I'm hurting this team."

Butler originally injured his left knee on Feb. 5 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. He returned to the lineup on March 5 scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a win over the Houston Rockets. He missed the next three games because of swelling in the knee, but a visit to renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews seemed to ease his mind.

Since his second return, Butler hasn't played with the confidence he showed earlier in the year. He is shooting 12-for-35 over his last three games. Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg reiterated that Butler is feeling fine, just dealing with some general body soreness. Butler affirmed those comments again after the game when asked if he was physically hurting.

"No," he said. "That's not an excuse. I don't know what the f--- it is, but it has nothing to do with the knee. My body's fine."

With the loss, the Bulls slid out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture again, a game behind the Detroit Pistons for eighth place.

"Ain't nothing wrong with me physically," Butler said. "Right now it's mentally. The ball's not going in. I let that affect me on both ends of the floor. It better turn around quick, because I want to help this team get to the playoffs."