CHICAGO (AP) -- Kirk Hinrich got clobbered driving to the basket
and a second after the ball somehow found its way into the basket,
his teammates rushed to help him off the floor.
Hinrich's fourth-quarter shot capped an impressive showing by
Chicago's rookie guard and helped the Bulls hustle their way to an
86-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
"Kirk is a selfless player. He's getting better and he's fun to
play with," Chicago guard Jamal Crawford said.
"Kirk is fearless. He plays the game with a reckless abandon
that is not out of control," said coach Scott Skiles.
Hinrich had another treat waiting for him after scoring a
career-high 18 points, matching Crawford's output Saturday night.
His former college coach at Kansas, Roy Williams, now at North
Carolina, came by his locker to chat after taking in the game.
"I forgot all about it and I turned around and he was there. I
appreciate he would come to watch me," Hinrich said.
The Bulls appreciated their victory that snapped a four-game
losing streak and gave them a 2-4 record since Skiles replaced Bill
Cartwright as coach.
Chicago used a 16-0 third-quarter run and the strong play of
Marcus Fizer, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Jerome
Williams, who added 10 points and 15 rebounds, to beat the top team
in the East.
"I looked up at the scoreboard and we were down. They played
some good defense and they were playing aggressively and they were
desperate. They deserved to win," said Indiana's Ron Artest, who
had 23 points, including the Pacers' first 10 in a 15-point final
Jermaine O'Neal added 19, but missed all five of his second-half
field-goal attempts and scored just one point in the final two
Indiana was within eight with just under five minutes to go
before the Bulls ran off eight in a row to secure the victory, a
stretch including Hinrich's driving basket that saw him flattened
"I saw daylight and thought I had a chance to get to the
basket," Hinrich said.
Struggling in the third quarter most of the season, the Bulls
took off on the 16-0 run as Hinrich hit a pair of 3-pointers and
Crawford another, turning a four-point deficit into a 61-49 lead.
Chicago outscored Indiana 31-14 in the third and led 71-60.
"When you give up 31 points in a quarter, you're getting
outworked," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "The third quarter
was decisive. They took the game to us."
Neal was 8-of-13 from the field in the first half and scored 10
straight Pacers points in the second quarter as Indiana took a
46-40 halftime lead.
But as the Bulls began doubling him, O'Neal struggled and so did
Chicago finished with a 53-39 rebounding edge.
Hinrich's previous high was 17. ... The Pacers were
0-for-11 on 3-pointers. ... Bulls C Eddy Curry bruised his left
knee late in the first quarter when teammate Antonio Davis was
knocked into him by O'Neal on a spin move. Curry played only 11
minutes. The Bulls were already without Scottie Pippen (knee),
Tyson Chandler (back) and Corie Blount (knee). ... Entering the
game, the Pacers were the NBA's best defensive team, allowing 83.5
points per game. The Bulls were the worst, yielding 99.5.