Kirk Hinrich comes up lame after 59-minute stint, could miss Game 5
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org
After the Bulls’ triple-overtime victory Saturday, forward Carlos Boozer shifted the focus from game MVP Nate Robinson to an unsung hero.
“Don’t underestimate the game Kirk Hinrich played,” Boozer said. “Obviously, he was guarding their best player [Deron Williams]. He played the whole game, it seemed liked, and he scored the ball for us.”
Now the Bulls might have to try to end the series against the Brooklyn Nets without Hinrich — or with him at less than 100 percent.
Hinrich played a game-high 59 minutes, and he suffered a bruised calf that had him walking gingerly afterward.
“He got banged up a little bit,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday.
Asked if Hinrich could miss time, Thibodeau said, “I don’t want to jump to any conclusions.
“We’ll see where he is [Monday].”
With a 3-1 lead, the Bulls will try to close out the series against the Nets at the Barclays Center. And if Hinrich can’t go, that means more Robinson, who played 28 minutes Saturday and scored 34 points.
Meanwhile, Thibodeau was encouraged by the status of center Joakim Noah, who logged 38 minutes.
“He says he’s feeling a lot better,” Thibodeau said.
Late in the regular season, Noah would be “extremely sore” the day after a game, according to Thibodeau.
“Now he’s at a point where he’s playing and he doesn’t have the same soreness the next day,” Thibodeau said. “He’s starting to get his timing back.”
Butler chips in
Second-year swingman Jimmy Butler has gotten plenty of playing time against the Nets, largely because of his defensive skills. But Butler scored 16 points against the Nets on Saturday, his highest output since he had 22 against the New York Knicks on April 1.
“It was great. [Butler] started the game off hot,” forward Taj Gibson said. “We told him to be aggressive, and he was just taking his looks. That’s what we need from him.”
After the Bulls’ triple-overtime victory, though, Butler didn’t know his stat line — and he didn’t care.
“Nah, and I don’t want to see it,” he said.
But sitting at his locker, Butler said it was the best game he has been a part of.
“It was super dope,” he said.
Boozer, in particular, is impressed with Butler’s defense.
“He’s doing a hell of a job, guarding a veteran, savvy player in Joe Johnson,” Boozer said.