This season hasn't exactly been the homecoming Caron Butler expected. The Racine native came to the Milwaukee Bucks expecting to play a central role in the rebuilding process but has instead found himself averaging about 24 minutes per game on the worst team in the NBA.

After letting his frustrations come out last week, the 12-year veteran saw just five minutes of playing time as Milwaukee's losing skid stretched to nine games with a pair of losses at Houston and San Antonio.

Wednesday night against the Pistons, though, Butler finally had the breakthrough that both he and the Bucks needed. On the night that his bobblehead was given out at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Butler turned in one of his best performances of the season with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists while playing 32-plus minutes off the bench to lead the Bucks to their first win of the new year, 104-101.

"This is a special day for me," Butler said. "A lot of loved ones, a lot of people in the community came out and supported me and the team tonight, so it's a special night. You want to put on a good show."

And put on a good show he did. Butler scored 14 of his points in the second quarter on 6 of 10 shooting to keep the Bucks neck-and-neck with the Pistons. With under a minute left in the third and the Bucks trailing by 10, Butler hit back-to-back 25-footers to make the deficit more reasonable heading into the final quarter. Despite picking up four fouls in a span of two minutes midway through the fourth, Butler stayed in the game down the stretch to help secure the victory.

In short, whenever the Bucks needed a big shot or a big play Butler was there.

"He was absolutely phenomenal today," head coach Larry Drew said. "He shot the ball extremely well and did a lot of other things.... He played a very solid and complete game on both ends of the floor."

What makes Butler's night even more impressive is that he did it two days removed from getting a root canal and was questionable coming into the game.

"I wasn't feeling good yesterday and felt extremely weak, and coach just walked through the practice and he believed in me tonight and gave me the opportunity," Butler said. "That's why it was even more special."

It's been a long time coming for Butler, who played more than 30 minutes for the first time since Dec. 23.