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Giving Jimmy Butler the ball pays off for Bulls

CHICAGO -- As Dwyane Wade sat in the Chicago Bulls' locker room Wednesday with a migraine, he posed a question to a member of the team's training staff as he pondered whether he would go back into the game.

"I asked the trainer [Armando Rivas], I said, 'Is Jimmy going to win it, or are we going to overtime?' [Rivas] said, 'He's going to win it.'"

Rivas was right.

Jimmy Butler drained a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Bulls a much-needed 101-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. After the ball fell through the net, Butler was mobbed by his teammates at center court as Bulls fans all over the United Center celebrated wildly. Butler tied a career high with 40 points, 27 of which came in the second half.

"I shoot that shot a lot at night," Butler said. "So I'm confident that that's going to go in. ... Everything y'all see me do, I do every night. Over and over again. That's where the confidence comes from, is the work that you put in every single day that y'all don't see. But yeah, that's in the repertoire. I don't use it very often, I got to save it for the game situations."

Butler said coach Fred Hoiberg's playcall was pretty simple as the Bulls talked things over during a timeout with 12.6 seconds left to play.

"Give Jimmy the ball," Butler said of Hoiberg's message. "And everybody just go to the corner and just get out of the way."

Butler smiled widely while discussing the call.

"I like that play," Butler said. "I like that play. Man, I like that play. I'm with that play. Don't put it in the playbook all the time, though, because I'd probably take a lot of bad shots out of it if he let me run it too many times per game."

Butler said that just before he came back onto the floor, he caught the eye of his trainer, Chris Johnson, who had a message for his All-Star client.

"All I could see was my trainer out the right side of my eye standing up the entire time," Butler said. "He was like, 'You better shoot it!' I was like, 'What else am I going to do?' Literally, that's what I was paying attention to because I know he was like, 'Yo, you got to do this move.' But I did a rhythm I do every single day, every single night. And it went in."

When it did, there was relief for Butler given that he was playing on a sprained right ankle. It also was a relief for Wade, who watched from the Bulls' locker room, then raced back to the floor to give his good friend a big hug for hitting the winning shot.

"You can't do it every night. Maybe he can; I can't do it every night no more," Wade said of carrying the load on both ends of the floor. "But sometimes your best player's got to be the best player. ... Some nights it's got to be that. Some nights your best players just got to say, 'Hey, we're the best players on the floor, and we got to show that.'"