Jimmy Butler helped limit Kobe Bryant to 16 points, but the Chicago Bulls guard says he’s no “Kobe Stopper,” as his teammates called him after the game.
“For one, that is not my nickname, and for two, I feel like everywhere he went I was there but also one of my teammates was there, two of my teammates were there,” Butler said Tuesday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000. “So if I was beat, they were always there to help me. It never was really just me guarding him. It was always four other guys, and that’s what makes this team so great, because we always have each other’s back on the court and off the court.”
With Luol Deng out for a third straight game because of a hamstring injury, the job of slowing down Bryant fell on Butler, and he proved up to the challenge on Monday. Playing a team-high 43 minutes, Butler helped limit Bryant to 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting in the Bulls’ 95-83 victory over the Lakers on Monday.
Bryant, who averages 29.2 points on the season, has averaged 21.3 points the past three games — all losses — while shooting 31.6 percent. The loss to the Bulls was the Lakers’ ninth in their past 11 games.
With his mother — a big Bryant fan — in attendance, Butler’s NBA reality hit him as he faced one of the greatest scorers in the history of the league.
“Growing up I was like, I want to play like Kobe, I want to be in Kobe’s position, and now you’re on the opposing team and you’ve got to guard Kobe,” Butler said. “It’s a blessing, that’s exactly what it was.”