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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Kirk Hinrich evaluated by more than numbers

By Scott Powers

MILWAUKEE -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged Saturday that point guard Kirk Hinrich’s offensive numbers had dipped recently, but Thibodeau said that’s not how he measures Hinrich’s play.

Since returning to the lineup after missing one game with a hip strain, Hinrich has gone 5-of-19 from the field, 0-of-7 from 3-point range and averaged 3.5 points in the last four games.

Prior to his injury, Hinrich was more aggressive on offense. He was 13-of-36 from the field, 4-of -10 from 3-point range and averaged 6.8 points.

“The challenge I think for the point guard with running the team he has to be obviously much more concerned with the team than his own individual plight,” Thibodeau said after Saturday’s shootaround at the University of Marquette. “I’ve evaluated him on how the team is functioning with him on the floor. His ability to execute the offense has been very good. His defense has been outstanding.”

Thibodeau also thought it was only a matter of time before Hinrich’s shots started falling like they normally have in his career. Hinrich is shooting .305 from the field and .235 from 3-point range this season. For his career, he’s shot .417 from the field and .377 from 3-point range.

“To me, the shots -- as long as they’re the right shots -- he’s already proven what he can do in this league,” said Thibodeau, whose team plays the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. “I know he’ll come around.”

Hinrich said after practice Friday that he had to adjust his game slightly.

“I’m having trouble to get into a rhythm,” said Hinrich, who has also had 29 assists, 17 turnovers and four steals in the past four games. “I may hit a couple early and kind of lose my rhythm throughout the game. Just try to focus on what I can do all-around, not let it affect my floor game, my defense and know my shot will go in.

“I think I just need to play. I think I’m a very instinctive player. I think I just need to go out there and play on my instincts and let the chips fall where they may.”

Hinrich and Thibodeau confirmed Hinrich wasn’t 100 percent healthy yet, but neither used that as an excuse.

“He’s been nicked up, but there’s a lot guys who are nicked up,” Thibodeau said. “I think that’s part of this league. You have to get through all that stuff.”

Hinrich said, “I’m doing the best I can. I’m feeling better. (Friday’s practice) was good. We got a little up and down (the court) in. I think that’s key for ourselves and myself to just get the proper reps.”