The score was tied at 75, and the Celtics started the period on a 12-2 run without Butler on the floor.
"I told Fred not to take me out at the beginning of the fourth," Butler said. "I wanted to play because that's when we give up those leads, at the beginning of the fourth. Nothing against my teammates, but I think if I'm out there and I get their energy going the right way, now take me out and let me rest. But the energy's going, the energy's flowing. I think I got to start playing at the beginning of the fourth quarter."
Butler, who played 39 minutes and scored a career-high 36 points, said Hoiberg's message to him was clear.
"[He said] I need a rest," Butler said. "I'm like, 'Man, I can handle an extra 45 seconds to a minute. Just let me get the energy going, get a stop here or there, and get us going in the right direction to start the fourth.'"
The Bulls' lack of execution in the fourth quarter has been a major problem during their three-game losing streak.
"They got off to a 12-2 start on us," Hoiberg said of the fourth quarter, before Butler's comments. "You got to come out with greater urgency. I thought our effort was really good most of the night. [We] had too many turnovers in that first half. They scored 25 points on our 18 turnovers. But they came out and threw the first punch in the fourth quarter and got us on our heels a little bit and then got back into it. But that was it -- the start of the fourth."
Butler said he spoke to Hoiberg about the decision after the game.
"That's what I was back there talking to him about," Butler said. "It's a learning curve for him just like it is for me. I understand what he's trying to do, I'm not mad at him for that, but we got to win games if we want to find ourselves in the postseason."
As a group, the Bulls don't seem to have any answers for why they are struggling so badly in the fourth quarter.
"I wish I could," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. "But I really can't right now."
As for the career high, Butler didn't seem impressed with his accomplishments.
"I don't give a damn about a career high," Butler said. "I want a win."