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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 96, Hornets 87

By Nick Friedell



NEW ORLEANS -- Here's a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 96-87 win over New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday at New Orleans Arena.

How it happened: Luol Deng had 20 points and five rebounds to help lead the Bulls. Carlos Boozer added 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Joakim Noah almost pulled off another triple-double with 15 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Eric Gordon led the Hornets with 17 points.

What it means: After losing for of their past five, the Bulls needed this game to get back on track. Tom Thibodeau wanted his team to play with more intensity from start to finish and it appeared as if they listened to him. As usual, Deng and Noah helped lead the way on both ends of the floor. The issue Thibodeau will have is that his team looked rusty for long stretches and did not always play the methodical style that Thibodeau prefers. What Thibodeau will be pleased with is the fact that Kirk Hinrich is back in the lineup and provided the offense with the kind of stabilizing force it has been looking for. With Hinrich back, the Bulls had a much easier time getting into plays and shots appeared to come easier for Hinrich's teammates. If he can stay healthy -- and that's a big if given all the injuries he's dealt with this season -- Hinrich will provide the Bulls with the type of offensive structure they have missed over the last few weeks.

Hits: In six minutes of play, Nazr Mohammed knocked down two jumpers and gave Noah a much-needed break. If he can keep doing that in short bursts Thibodeau may decide to use him more.

Misses: Nate Robinson was just 2-for-9 from the field.

Stat of the night: The Bulls did not shoot a free throw in the first half.

What's next: The Bulls get ready for a Thursday night showdown against the Miami Heat.