The way Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson played together in the Bulls 103-87 win Friday night over the Warriors at the United Center, it seemed like the backcourt pairing had been playing together forever.
But believe it or not, the duo had never even practiced being a guard tandem and have rarely been on the court together thus far this season.
It gives us a lot. Tonight, they were a small team, as well, so it worked out really well. We havent ever really done it in practice, Hinrich, who insisted that his shots felt good all year, in light of some his recent performances, explained. Its just one of those things. Just go out there, play to our strengths and try to make the right basketball play.
Robinson, who echoed Hinrichs never, when asked about the dual point-guard set, added, It just made it easier for us. I know if I pass to him, he can dribble or catch and shoot, make plays. It just felt natural.
It happens like that sometimes, he continued. Got the hot hand, Kirky got us going. Weve just got to find a way to win and today, the ball just found the basket.
Whatever the case, the move worked out brilliantly for the Bulls, as Hinrich finished with a team, game and personal season-high 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 6-of-7 from three-point range, as well as four assists, while Robinson chipped in with 22 points of his own on 10-for-16 shooting, featuring 11 second-quarter points upon entering the contest, along with four assists of his own.
Kirk and Nate were terrific together, too. We were sort of forced into that because of who they had on the floor. They played extremely well together and they played well off each other, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. I liked the way Nate and he can go back and forth. I think its a good option to have. You have multiple guys who can go off the dribble, get into pick-and-rolls, read things.
Carlos Boozer added: The last few games, to be honest, Kirks been playing great. Nates always aggressive offensively. But it makes the game easier for everybody.
Sure, the coach went to the alignment because of Golden States pairing of point guards Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack, but it gave the Bulls a new dimension and whether for the near future or down the road, when Derrick Rose eventually returns to the lineup, its something to think about.
That was a big part of why we signed Kirk, is the fact that hes played both positions and has played it well, Thibodeau said of Hinrich, who has played next to Rose in the backcourt, after all. He can run a team, you can move him to the two-guard.
As for Robinson, making the victory sweeter was the fact that it came against one of his former teams, the Warriors, who he played for last season.
It definitely does, so for me, I just thank Coach Mark Jackson, Golden States head coach for giving the opportunity he did last year, he said. Definitely a humble individual, great man and he helped me out a lot to get me where I am today.