PHILADELPHIA • Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler hogged the spotlight throughout much of Thursday's National Basketball Association game against the woeful Philadelphia 76ers, but it was back-up guard E'Twaun Moore who took a star turn in overtime.
Butler scored a career-high 53 points and Moore added seven of his 14 in the extra period, lifting the Bulls to a 115-111 victory.
"That's as good a performance as I've seen," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after Butler went 15-for-30 from the floor and 21-for-25 from the foul line.
He also contributed 10 rebounds and six assists for Chicago, who rested centre Pau Gasol and were without guard Derrick Rose (tendinitis, left knee).
"He's an All-Star for a reason," Philadelphia guard Ish Smith said of Butler, and he's playing at an MVP (Most Valuable Player) level."
Butler actually begged to differ.
"I'm not playing the best basketball of my life," he said.
"Fifty-eight in a YMCA league (in high school) was my best basketball."
His point total was the most ever by an opponent in the Wells Fargo Centre and the most by a Bull since Jamal Crawford scored 50 against Toronto on April 11, 2004.
"Everybody sees my 53 points but that's not the reason we won," Butler said. "E'Twaun making big baskets late (was critical). That guy gets a lot of the credit for this win."
Philadelphia scored the first four points of the extra period but Moore made a three-pointer, then a floater over Nerlens Noel with 3min 16sec left, to put Chicago ahead for good, 109-108.
After a Sixers turnover, Moore made another jumper with 2min 37sec remaining. Butler's break-away lay-up with 1:20 to play gave the Bulls a 113-108 cushion.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said the extra defensive attention his team gave Butler led to Moore's success.
"We made the adjustment, and then Moore punished us badly," Brown said. "He had seven consecutive points. To me, that was the game."
Smith, who had 24 points and eight assists, nailed a three-pointer to cut the gap to two with 1:04 left, but his potential game-tying lay-up with 25 seconds remaining spilt off the rim.
Bulls back-up forward Doug McDermott hit two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to account for the final margin.
McDermott scored 17 points and forward Taj Gibson collected 11 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago. Centre Joakim Noah had six points, 16 boards and eight assists.