Thomas scored 13 of his 33 points in the final period and the surging Boston Celtics held on to beat Philadelphia 116-108 on Wednesday night.
No replay of the shot revealed conclusively whether Smart actually made contact with Butler's elbow.
"You look back after the big meeting we had and we really got in a good rhythm", Hoiberg said, citing the January 27 team talk after Rajon Rondo called out Wade and Butler for criticizing teammates publicly. "People are going to say, 'Aw, he didn't foul him, ' but he did". He made the call. "Bad call cost us a game, cost us a game".
Thomas steadied the Celtics in a see-saw battle with the Bulls down the stretch with six of his 11 fourth quarter points in the final three minutes, but Butler came up with a huge block on the Boston guard to give the Bulls another chance to retake control with 50 seconds left. "But we bounced back".
Myles Turner finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for IN with All Star Paul George also adding 17 points.
Chicago stayed close thanks to Robin Lopez (nine first quarter points) and the defensive energy of former Celtic Rajon Rondo. "It's going to propel us to the second half of the season, which our team really needs", Portis said.
Thomas has scored 20 or more points in 39 consecutive contests dating back to November when he had his only game of the season where he did not score 20 or more. Butler has made at least 10 free-throws in 20 games this season, the third most in the NBA (James Harden - 28, Russell Westbrook - 23). They played good. We could have played better.
"It's part of it; you move forward", Celtics' Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss.
Down by one point against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, the Chicago Bulls put the ball in star swingman Jimmy Butler's hands. Wade has been hampered by a bruised right wrist, and woke up Thursday with an illness. "I got punished for playing good defense, I guess". Kelly Olynyk and Terry Rozier led the way with 17 and 11 points, respectively. Amir Johnson had ten first-quarter points and Al Horford had seven as the Celtics led by three. They also stand several games ahead of Washington in regards to playoff position, and are also ahead of Toronto for the Atlantic division, for which the Raptors are the reigning champions.
Detroit has dropped five straight games for the second time in less than a month, matching its season-long losing streak. Chicago lost 115-97 at Phoenix last Friday night.