LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler broke Michael Jordan’s franchise record for the most points in a half with 40 as the Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the Toronto Raptors 115-113 on Sunday. Butler, who scored two points in the first half before exploding for 40 in the second, surpassed Jordan’s mark of 39 which the NBA icon set against the Milwaukee Bucks in February 1988. The 26-year-old shooting guard rattled in a clutch three pointer with 30 seconds left as the Bulls beat the Raptors for the second time in six days. Asked about breaking Jordan’s record, Butler said, “Do not compare me to him.” Butler’s superb second half allowed the Bulls to come from behind after trailing by as many as 15 points at the Air Canada Centre arena.
“He just couldn’t miss. It was unbelievable,” teammate Taj Gibson said of Butler. The Bulls have now won seven straight over the Raptors, including a 104-97 win last Monday in Chicago.
Center Pau Gasol added 19 points and 13 rebounds and forward Nikola Mirotic scored 17 points for Chicago. Guard DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points but missed a shot as the final buzzer sounded. Forward Luis Scola and point guard Kyle Lowry each scored 22 points and Lowry added 10 assists for the Raptors in front of a crowd of 19,800. With the game tied 109-109, Lowry hit a turn-around jumper with 40.9 seconds left to put the Raptors ahead by two points. Butler came back with a three-pointer to give the Bulls a 112-111 lead with 30.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Lowry missed a running layup and Toronto forward DeMarre Carroll was called for a foul that sent Gasol to the free throw line. Gasol made one of two to give the Bulls a two-point lead with 23 seconds on the clock. On the Bulls’ next possession Gibson made one of two free throws and Chicago led by three. Center Jonas Valanciunas cut the lead to one with 4.6 seconds left. Butler made one of two free throws and DeRozan missed a long shot from beyond the arc at the buzzer. The Bulls won despite injuries to key players, including guard Derrick Rose who missed his third straight game. Rose will have an MRI done of his sore right hamstring on Monday. Joakim Noah also did not play because of an injured left shoulder.