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updated: 5/8/2013 10:06 PM

Bulls' Butler finally grabs some bench

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  • LeBron James, center, drives against Jimmy Butler (21) and center Joakim Noah, right, during the first half of Game 2 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Butler didn't play a full 48 minutes Wednesday, the first time that's happened since Game 5 of the Bulls' series against Brooklyn.

      LeBron James, center, drives against Jimmy Butler (21) and center Joakim Noah, right, during the first half of Game 2 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Butler didn't play a full 48 minutes Wednesday, the first time that's happened since Game 5 of the Bulls' series against Brooklyn.
    Associated Press

 
 

MIAMI -- Jimmy Butler's string of playing all 48 minutes came to an end at three games when he was called for his second foul 13 seconds into second quarter. Butler checked out and spent the next 4:41 in a very unfamiliar place, the bench.

Butler is the fourth player since 1976 to play every minute of three straight playoff games, joining Allen Iverson in 2005, Nick Van Exel in 1995 and Moses Malone in '81.

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Butler wouldn't have played every minute of Game 2, anyway, since the score got out of hand. But foul trouble is unusual for Butler. He's one of the league leaders in fewest fouls per minute. He averaged 1.2 per game in the regular season.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra paid tribute to Butler before the game.

"The opportunities now that he's getting in playing 48 every single game, it shows you the level of athlete and conditioning that he has," Spoelstra said. "He is defensive-minded. Coming into this league, you don't see a lot of players like that. And he's has improved offensively. Now he's a threat from beyond the (3-point) line. Our guys have respect for him and what he can bring to the table."

Deng, Hinrich stay out:

Luol Deng remained in Chicago on Thursday and missed his fourth straight game due to an illness and bad reaction to a spinal tap. Kirk Hinrich sat out his fifth straight game with a calf bruise.

Neither player seems likely to play Friday, when the series moves to the United Center for Game 3. Coach Tom Thibodeau updated Deng's status before Thursday's contest.

"He did a little bit of shooting yesterday ... was still not feeling great," Thibodeau said. "Did a little more today. Today, he was just more like walking around. We'll see where he is tomorrow."

Thibs low on votes:

Tom Thibodeau finished eighth in coach of the year voting, which was announced Wednesday.

Denver's George Karl won by a wide margin, followed by Miami's Erik Spoelstra, New York's Mike Woodson, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, Indiana's Frank Vogel, Memphis' Lionel Hollins and Golden State's Mark Jackson.

"He's been great at it a long time," Thibodeau said of Karl. "I know George a little bit. I'm very happy for him, thought he had a remarkable season. He does it year after year and he does it a lot of different ways, too."

Spoelstra expressed relief that he didn't win the award.

"It's not quite as definitive as the (Sports Illustrated) jinx, but it's close," he said.

Big-on-small talk from Heat:

A topic in Miami before Game 2 was whether LeBron James might guard Bulls sparkplug Nate Robinson. It happened once on a switch Wednesday, but that's a move meant more for late in a close game.

It would be an interesting matchup, since the 6-8 James is nearly a foot taller than the 5-9 Robinson.

"It's not the first time we would have done it," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "'One Through Five,' that's (James') nickname for a reason."

Robinson takes some lip:

Jimmy Butler on whether his teammates are giving Nate Robinson a hard time about his fat lip, which needed 10 stitches to sew up during Game 1:

"If that happened to one of us, Nate would be on national TV (talking about it)," Butler joked. "We've got to take our sucker punches when we can."

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