Kirk Hinrich’s 17 points in the Bulls’ 92-86 win Sunday over the Lakers at the Staples Center wasn’t anything spectacular, but coming off his 15-point outing in the team’s previous game, last Thursday’s loss at Golden State, the veteran’s second-best scoring output of the season should be interpreted as a positive sign.
Hinrich is averaging 8.2 points per game on 36.5 percent shooting from the field and 29.2 percent shooting from three-point range, but as usual, his contributions are better measured by his floor generalship, defensive prowess, backcourt versatility and overall intangibles. That said, after dealing with a nagging right-hamstring injury that sidelined him four games heading into the Bulls’ recently-completed six-game Western Conference road trip, Hinrich would like to be able to give the short-handed squad more from a scoring standpoint.
“Well honestly, that’s the place [three-point shooting] I’ve really struggled. I’ve had horrific first-half three-point shooting,” Hinrich said of his struggles from long distance in the first half of the regular season. “I’m not going to lose confidence in it.
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“I’m looking for it [his individual offense]. I think that’s it. I’ve been shooting a lot of extra shots. But really, I’ve kind of had more of an offensive mindset,” he went on to explain. “I think I’m definitely feeling good for the first time in a little while. I felt really good for the first month or so. Hit a little bit of a lull there, had some problems. But more, it’s just the mindset. Trying to log the gym time, just disappointed in the way I shot the ball and played offensively. So I feel like I can do more and I’m going to try to do that to help the team.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, however, is pleased with Hinrich’s recent offensive play and his point-guard platoon of Hinrich and backup D.J. Augustin in general. The pair combined for 32 points and 11 assists Sunday, so while the Bulls certainly miss injured superstar Derrick Rose, the tandem has the capability to produce at a high level in tandem.
“I think he’s finding his rhythm offensively and D.J.’s been terrific throughout, so that’s a big plus, when those guys can score, it puts pressure on them in the pick-and-roll,” Thibodeau said. “I think in tandem — and we’re trying to save minutes where they can play together — and they played very effectively with each other. It allows you to swing the ball to get to the second pick-and-roll and that’s been very effective for us, so it’s been good.”