Different motivations for Hinrich, Teague vs. Hawks

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Different motivations for Hinrich, Teague vs. Hawks

NEW YORK Though hes too humble to say it, the vibe Kirk Hinrich gave off was one of, You guys didnt think I still had it, did you?

Hinrich, a true professional, chuckled when he was asked about his hot night shooting the ball 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, as well as nine rebounds, eight assists and just two turnovers in Friday evenings Bulls win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

I made a couple early and my teammates found me for some easy ones, but it always feels good when shots go in, he said, as if the question was the most elementary thing ever. They just presented themselves and I was able to knock them down, and they kind of continued to present themselves as the game went along.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasnt so charitable to the assembled media when asked about Hinrich.

Finally, you guys recognize that. The guys been playing well all season. Hes got our second-highest plus-minus. You guys keep talking about what hes not doing. All I see is him playing well, the coach said. If you look at how he shot the ball over the last 10 games, prior to tonight, he was shooting 47 percent from three. You guys say hes not shooting well. Hes doing a great job running our team. Thats what I do know.

Regardless of his numbers, its clear that on a nightly basis, Hinrich isnt the same Captain Kirk Bulls fans remember from his younger days, before he was beset by so many injuries and had an extra dose of athleticism and quickness, which he used to become an effective penetrator, manufacture more offense for both himself and teammates, and was an upper-echelon defender at his position. Those traits are no longer givens, especially when watched alongside some of the more explosive point guards in the game today, but his determination, team-first mentality, unselfishness and most significantly, toughness cant be denied, which is why Thibodeau puts him in the same boat as the indispensable Luol Deng, Hinrichs former and current teammate.

Well, they both have a lot of mental and physical toughness and thats what makes them so valuable to our team, Thibodeau explained. Sometimes you cant always measure what they do for the team statistically, but you know the team is performing well when theyre on the floor and thats how you judge them.

Saturday night, Hinrich will face the last team he played for, the Hawks. But he isnt looking at the game with sentimental feelings, understandable after he was unceremoniously traded to Washington by the Bulls in the summer of 2010, then subsequently traded to Atlanta, where he was only a part-time starter.

Its just another game for me. Theyre playing very well right now and were going to have to play really good, Hinrich said of the Hawks, who feature former Bulls top deep threat Kyle Korver. Theyre a very talented team. I think they did a good job of adding pieces in the offseason that fit how they play and Im not surprised at all.

Coincidentally, the player who eventually seized the starting point-guard role in Atlanta was Jeff Teague, the older brother of Bulls rookie Marquis Teague. Hinrich expressed his respected for the elder Teague, who appears to be in the midst of a breakout season, now that hes a bigger part of the Hawks offense with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn.

Jeffs an explosive athlete and he can really score in bunches, Hinrich said. Hes a tough guard.

For Marquis, Saturday will be the first time hell play against his brother in an organized game, period, let alone the NBA.

Its going to be fun, man. Well just go out there, battle it out, he said, adding that the two havent been in contact leading up to the matchup. Weve played pickup against each otherwe both kill each other. Its nothing.

He knows my game like I know his, though. Its the same. Weve been watching each other our whole lives, so were just going to go out there and play hard.

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

It was believed the Bulls needed no extra motivation going against a Dallas Mavericks team that's a half-game away from being worst in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks gave them a 25-point shellacking in Texas last month, giving the Bulls enough film to make a horror show. Usually these instances even out over 82 games.

But this is no ordinary season for the Bulls, and the Mavericks again emerged victorious when Wesley Matthews got free for a triple on one end and locked up his college teammate Jimmy Butler on the other end, leading to a 99-98 Mavericks win.

It looked like another Butler special when Butler nailed a step-up, contested jumper over Matthews to give the Bulls a 98-96 lead, completing his 24-point night.

But Matthews was undeterred, breaking free on the wing for a triple when Dwyane Wade had to help Nikola Mirotic on a Deron Williams drive with 11.7 seconds left.

And on the final possession, the Bulls' spacing looked gummed up when Butler couldn’t shake free of Matthews, forcing him to pitch it to Wade, who put up a heavily contested 21-foot jumper from the baseline

It caromed off the rim, and the Mavericks danced happily off the floor for their first three-game winning streak of the year, this win completing a season sweep of the Bulls.

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Butler scored 24 with 12 assists and nine rebounds but was 5-for-12 from the field as Matthews was in his chest all night. Wade had a strong fourth quarter on his 35th birthday but missed 13 of his 21 shots to score 17.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 and Seth Curry's 18 as the Mavericks made 11 triples and had 27 assists, frustrating the Bulls.

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 20 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn’t have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The Mavericks played tougher and smarter with their personnel, and the Bulls got to see what happens when Wade or Butler can't save the day.

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Is Rajon Rondo avoiding his former coach?

During Tuesday night's Bulls-Mavericks game, Rondo awkwardly ran behind Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as the third quarter was winding down.

Take a look at the play in the video above.

Rondo, who played with the Mavericks in the 2014-15 season, had a weird relationship with Carlisle. Most notably, he and Carlisle had a heated exchange during a game on Feb. 24, 2015 against the Toronto Raptors. It eventually led to Carlisle saying that Rondo was a bad fit for the Mavericks and that the team should have never traded for him.

On Tuesday, Rondo apparently shook Carlisle's hand before he checked in the game for the first time in the first quarter. 

All is well, it seems, but that was still weird.