Christmas givings: Hinrich, Butler to start

December, 25, 2013
12/25/13
10:55
AM CT
By Christopher Hunt | Special to ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
NEW YORK -- Kirk Hinrich will start in the Christmas Day matinee against the Brooklyn Nets.

This will be the Bulls guard's first game back after missing the previous five with back spasms.

Jimmy Butler also returns from his sprained right ankle and is expected to share the backcourt with Hinrich. Luol Deng, who is still listed day-to-day, will not play.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn't elaborate on how many minutes either player might play but did acknowledge that a possible pairing of Hinrich and newly-acquired D.J. Augustin could give them a boost against a Brooklyn team that has dropped three straight and got trounced by the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

"I like having two point guards on the floor but we'll see how that unfolds," Thibodeau said.

Hinrich said earlier this week that having Augustin would help because the point guard gives Chicago another shooter and the addition of another ball handler gives Hinrich relief from playing extended minutes.

The Bulls and Nets enter today's Christmas Day matchup as two of the most injury-ravaged teams in the NBA. Derrick Rose is out for the season. Butler has missed 12 games, Deng missed 6 and Hinrich 5. The Nets have lost Brook Lopez for the season. Andrei Kirilenko has missed 23 games and Jason Terry, who will play today, missed 15. Deron Williams and Paul Pierce -- both playing -- have missed 11 and five games respectively.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5