NEW YORK—It wasn’t as widely discussed as teammate Joakim Noah’s ailing foot, which is the way he likes it, but Kirk Hinrich was also banged up heading into Monday night’s Game 2 win over the Nets at the Barclays Center, a result of a left-thigh bruise in the second half of Saturday’s Game 1 loss.
Hinrich wouldn’t reveal much about the injury—after Game 2, he would only say, “Once I got going, I felt good”—but Noah spilled the beans and revealed the extent of the injury.
“’Kirky Worky,’” he said about the point guard. “He’s a warrior. I’m just so happy that he’s back on this team because to me, he really represents what Chicago Bulls basketball is all about, especially right now. he got kneed really bad in Game 1. He was pretty hurt, and to come out and play defense the way that he played defense, and to run the team the way he ran the team, I’m really happy for ‘Cap’ because he’s been huge for us.”
Hinrich scored 13 points and dished out five assists, but more importantly, he limited Brooklyn floor general Deron Williams to only eight points, on 1-for-9 shooting, though the Nets point guard also had 10 assists.
“Every game’s different. Tonight, I just think our bigs did a great job of quarterbacking the defense, being our protectors and the whole team, we fought harder tonight,” he said, typically downplaying his performance. “I just tried to do the best I can. He’s such a great player, so versatile and our bigs did a great job. I’m only as good as they are, and they just did a great job of talking to me and always being there for support.
“He’s a very physical player and I just tried to play him as tough as I can without fouling him, and our bigs were great tonight,” Hinrich went on to say. “We wanted to be a little more aggressive with him and we just stuck with it. There were times where we were getting hurt what we were doing, stuck with it, kept fighting and we were able to get the win. It’s a tough cover out there. They’ve got so many guys who can score and hurt you in different ways.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau also discussed his team’s strategy against Williams.
“We tried to give him some different looks,” he explained. “If you don’t have a multiple-effort against him, he creates so many easy shots for his team and they missed some shots that they made the other night, and sometimes it comes down to that, make or miss.”
But for Hinrich’s current and former teammate, All-Star Luol Deng, the floor general’s game was a blast from the past.
“It was huge. It was like ‘Baby Bulls’ days,” he said, referencing the team’s pre-Derrick Rose era. “Kirk can play. Kirk’s defense was great, man, and tonight it was huge.”