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Chicago wins wire-to-wire at Delta Center

2/5/2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Kirk Hinrich was stumped when asked to
remember the last time the Chicago Bulls won on the road. As for
winning in a Western Conference city, the rookie point guard could
only guess.

The Bulls ended a 26-game game road drought against the Western
Conference teams with a 95-79 victory over Utah on Wednesday night.

"It feels good. Our streak out here in the West was getting
pretty big," said Hinrich, who scored 17 for Chicago.

The Bulls last won on the road in the West on March 16, 2002,
edging Houston 114-112 in overtime. Hinrich was a junior at Kansas
that year and Eddy Curry was a rookie with the Bulls.

Hinrich and Curry looked plenty experienced Wednesday.

Curry had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four assists as the Bulls
snapped the two-year streak and two others: Chicago had lost five
straight overall and nine in a row on the road.

"It's big for our guys. We're not hung up on the streak or
anything like that. It's just a big road win for us," Chicago
coach Scott Skiles said.

Chicago, which was 0-12 this season in the West, wraps up a
seven-game road trip on Friday in Houston. The Bulls know that at
least they won't go winless in the West for the second straight
season.

"It was real important for us, especially since we haven't got
a win yet out here," Curry said. "I feel like we played pretty
good the last couple games and it was time for a win."

Eddie Robinson scored 16 off the bench for Chicago, which had
lost 11 of its last 12 against Utah.

The Jazz fell to 24-25, dropping below .500 for the second time
this season, and have lost three straight with coach Jerry Sloan
stuck at 899 career wins.

DeShawn Stevenson led Utah with 17 points and Jarron Collins
finished with 11 points. They were the only two Jazz players to
score in double figures.

"You go out and you think you're going to have an easy game,
and evidently we must have felt that because we never did get to
them and guard them," Sloan said.

Sloan pulled all his starters two minutes into the fourth
quarter. The Jazz finished just 30-for-80 from the floor and
leading scorer Andrei Kirilenko, who was named to the Western
Conference All-Star team Tuesday, finished with eight points, four
rebounds and five assists.

The Bulls had been winless on the road since a 104-99 victory at
New York on Jan. 2.

"Our defensive efforts have been lacking. It almost seemed like
it was getting worse," Hinrich said. "It's all we stressed, all
we worked on yesterday in practice. It was nice to come out and
execute."

Chicago was 33-for-62 from the field and Hinrich was 4-of-7 from
3-point range. The Bulls led 47-32 at halftime and kept pulling
away in the second half. After Kirilenko scored the first points of
the period on a layup, Antonio Davis converted a three-point play
and Hinrich added two 3-pointers.

Stevenson took a steal in for a dunk to get Utah within 71-52
late in the third quarter, but after the Jazz forced a jump ball,
Jerome Williams -- who scored 11 -- tipped it to Curry alone under
the basket and Curry made the layup while drawing a foul.

He made the free throw, and the Bulls' lead was back in the 20s.

The Bulls led comfortably through the final quarter against the
Jazz reserves, who fared no better than the starters.

Game notes
It was retro night for both teams, with the Jazz wearing
their 1979-80 uniform design and the Bulls donning their old red
'Chicago' jerseys they had until 1985. ... Chicago F Scottie Pippen
-- the only member of the Bulls who played for Chicago in the '97
and '98 finals wins over Utah -- did not dress because of a sore
left knee. ... Utah fell to 19-8 at home. ... Skiles was fined
$7,500 by the NBA for criticizing veteran referee Jess Kersey after
a loss to Seattle on Monday.