Chicago could have its starting point guard back in the lineup when it tries to match a season-high, seven-game win streak in a matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Hinrich, Chicago’s second-leading scorer, has missed the last four games with a strained left hamstring, but the team hasn’t missed a beat without him, going 4-0 as part of a six-game win streak.
Hinrich had planned to return to the lineup for Monday’s matchup with Memphis, but after testing out his leg in pregame warmups, decided it would be best to sit out another game. He is listed as day-to-day.
Eddy Curry made sure the win streak would continue, making his first five shots in the second half and helping extend the Bulls’ lead to 18 before they held on for a 94-86 victory over the Grizzlies.
“They were making a run and we had to do something to stop it. Otherwise it was going to be a sad day,” Curry said.
Curry, who has 25 points or more in each of his last two games, was asked if that was becoming a habit.
“Hopefully, just winning is a regular thing around here,” Curry said. “I’m just trying to do my part to help us win games. With Kirk out, guys have to step up and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
A season-high seven games over .500, the Bulls are closing in on their first playoff berth since winning the NBA title in 1997-98. They are one game behind Washington for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and home court in the opening round of the playoffs.
“We keep playing this way and we can go pretty high, pretty far,” Curry said.
Charlotte failed in a bid to win three straight for the first time, losing 95-91 to visiting New Jersey on Monday.
Primoz Brezec had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were coming off wins over Orlando and Miami.
Bobcats leading scorer and rebounder Emeka Okafor showed no adverse effects from a sprained left ankle he sustained in Saturday’s win over the Heat. The rookie forward had his 37th double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
“It felt a lot better than I thought it would,” Okafor said. “I was out there during pregame warm-ups and decided to give it a go. It’s nothing too serious.”