Opening Tip: Butler's shooting woes continue

CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler sat quietly in the chair in front of his locker stall late Friday night. It wasn't tough to figure what was weighing so heavily on his mind. Over his last six games, he is just 25-for-83 from the field -- including a 3-for-15 clip in Friday's 112-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. On the season, Butler is shooting 37.1 percent from the field. He put in a lot of work to get his shot on track over the summer, but that hard work hasn't paid off to this point.

"I'm playing terrible," Butler said. "I'm not making no shots. I'm not helping on offense. I got to fix it. I don't know what it is, but I got to figure it out on my own."

Butler is taking his recent struggles hard. After a breakout playoff run last spring, he hasn't taken the step in his game that so many expected this season.

"I'm getting great looks," he said. "They're just not falling for me. I don't know. It's got to be me, nothing else. The rims are the same, the balls are the same, so it's all on me to correct it."

Butler's teammates and coaches are hoping he breaks out of his slump soon.

"He just has to keep grinding away," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think that Jimmy will be fine. I think that he helps this team in a lot of other ways. He can help this team with his defense, his running the floor, his tenacity, his will. The thing about his offense is he's sort of at where [Joakim Noah] was earlier in the year. It's hard to be in rhythm when he's had the injuries that he's had. He's missed a lot of time, he's playing catchup, he'll get there. He's got to keep going. Jimmy's a good player."

Rivers a big fan of Noah's: As the Clippers walked into the United Center for their shootaround Friday morning, coach Doc Rivers took some time out to say hello to Noah. It's clear the veteran coach has a lot of respect for the way Noah plays.

"Noah, that's a guy when you watch him play, he's a joy to watch because he plays with the joy that you would wish every player, every kid, played with," Rivers said. "Then when you factor him and Thibs together I think that makes a dynamic duo as far as intensity. And to me everyone else has to follow suit on that team and they do."

The last word: Thibodeau on Rivers: "Doc's been around and he has great perspective on things because he can look at it from the point of view of an ex-player, he can look at it from the point of view of a coach, and now as an executive. That's one of the things that we talked about, now that he's an executive, I think that overrides whoever is supposed to pay for dinner. That expense account is a little bigger now for him."