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The once and future Kirk

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Hopefully future Kirk, anyway. Hinrich looked like his old self tonight for the Bulls, and quite unlike his more prevalent alter ego, the Mopey Iowan, who we had seen most of this season.

The Bulls need for offense was dire, as before tipoff Ben Gordon joined known scratches Deng and Duhon on the bench with a wrist injury. With so much production (and Duhon) unavailable, someone had to score and Hinrich was doing it in all ways, 4-5 from three, 6-6 from the line, hitting floaters and turnaround jumpers on his way to a career high 38 points (along with 10 assists and 7 rebounds).

Before Hinrich was piling on the points in the 2nd half, the first half story was a 2nd quarter surge led by Noah, Thomas, and Thabo, allowing the tantalizing correlation of young players and winning basketball. Naturally, we didn't see Tyrus in the 2nd half and Adrian Griffin played 27 minutes, otherwise such instances wouldn't be tantalizing. Or simply make sense. 

Noah and Thabo did play plenty of minutes though (yet another game where Wallace watched the 4th from the bench, and rightfully so) with Noah especially looking good and even scoring on a few post-up opportunities.

Notice I've now mentioned both Noah and Hinrich posting up the Pacers. Shows what kind of game it was. The Pacers went small the entire game, starting Granger at the 4 and Foster at the 5. No shotblocking meant that the Bulls could drive into the lane whenever they wanted, and on offense the Pacers were sloppy (18 TOs) and disinterested outside of chucking 3-pointers. Jamaal Tinsley looked particularly uninspired, especially in contrast to the teams' first meeting in Indy when he abused Hinrich. Tonight was the other way around.