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 quarter.
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 quarters.
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 by O’Neal.
“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 the Pacers.
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 pergame. The Bulls were the worst, yielding 99.5.