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Bulls 108, Pacers 93: Hinrich Maneuver Coughs Up Pacer Loss

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Hey! I thought Kirk Hinrich stunk. I heard Kirk Hinrich can't shoot any more. I swear it's become common knowledge that Kirk Hinrich has shown no signs of the game that earned him a USA Basketball invite.

Lies! Damn lies, I tell you! Hinrich made sweet string music all night playing the pick and roll like he was in the fiddle section of the Boston Pops. The numbers don't lie tonight and Hinrich's line is obscene. 38 points (14-21 FGA, 4-5 3PT), 7 rebounds, 10 assists. You call this struggling?

Actually, you could see Hinrich's confidence continually rise throughout the first half when he realized that the Pacers perimeter defense would offer little resistance. By the second half, he barely paid attention to Travis Diener or Jamaal Tinsley when they were guarding him.

Despite my lavish praise of Hinrich, don't think for a minute that the Pacers didn't bring this loss on themselves. The Bulls were without Chris Duhon, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. My first thought was, keep the pace up and wear them down by running. The Pacers were without Jermaine O'Neal and Troy Murphy. The Bulls wanted to pound the ball inside and punish the small ball lineup of the Pacers. When in doubt, the Bull with the ball took it straight to the rim. A score or a foul was quite common. Joakim Noah finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and was a handful under the hoop.

While the Bulls executed their game plan the Pacers tossed theirs away. All 18 turnovers sucked the life out of any Pacer run, but the game was really lost early in the second quarter. With the score tied at 29, the Pacers went on to fuel a 17-0 Bulls run by handing their hosts six turnovers. Yes, the Pacers were able to cut into that lead and had it down to two points in the second half. But more late slop in the fourth quarter allowed the Bulls close out the game with ease for a 108-95 loss.

Unfortunately, the Pacers wasted a 33 point night from Danny Granger. Granger was in rhythm from the opening tip and maintained a solid level of play throughout the game.

The same can't be said for Kareem Rush who started the game right in stride with Granger, but finished poorly when the Pacers were dying for buckets.

Mike Dunleavy had one of those nights. Everything he shot seemed to clank off the front iron. He finished 2-12 from the field with four horrid turnovers. I'm actually surprised he only had four.

I'd say Jamaal Tinsley was disappointing but his game tonight has become the norm. He seems to be going through the motions for long stretches, no longer interested in making himself a scoring threat. In his defense tonight, he was playing with a cold of some sort. Having just worked through something similar, I can't imagine playing through an NBA game feeling that bad.

The Bulls and Pacers are now tied in the loss column. The Bulls have played two less games so they remain a game back. No time to sulk for the Pacers as they head up I-94 to take on the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night. Maybe they should stop off at the Mars Cheese Castle for a little team bonding over a cheddar wheel. At this point, why not?