The Chicago Bulls pulled out a triple-overtime thriller over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, winning the marathon of a game by a count of 142-134. That game four win gave the Bulls a 3-1 lead in the first round series of the NBA Playoffs. Though Chicago got nice performances from several players, they were undoubtedly sparked by Nate Robinson’s 34 points, 23 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Though Robinson was the hero in game four, starting point guard Kirk Hinrich has been the unsung hero throughout the Bulls’ entire series with the Nets. His stat-line has been solid as he has averaged 11.3 points, 5.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and two steals per game on 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent shooting from three. However, it’s been his overall defensive effort that has made a difference in the series.
Hinrich has had the difficult task of matching up with Nets star point guard Deron Williams in this series. There’s no denying that Williams is the most dangerous offensive player on the Nets with his ability to score in multiple ways and his ability to facilitate Brooklyn’s offense. Hinrich, though, hasn’t been intimidated.
Through the first four games of this series, Hinrich has shown tremendous defensive ability in pressuring Williams and simply making his life difficult. Though Williams is averaging 20 points and 7.8 assists per game, Hinrich has also forced him into committing 3.5 turnovers per game and has held him to just 41.3 percent shooting from the floor. He’s forced Williams to make quick decisions and, at times, take difficult shots. Hinrich has been awesome on that end of the floor.
At some point in game four, though, Hinrich suffered a bruised calf and is now questionable for game five in Brooklyn when the Bulls will have a chance to clinch the series. If Hinrich is unable to play, though, the Bulls may have a difficult time getting the win in game five. With Robinson as the primary point guard, he would have to match up with Williams. Robinson is more dangerous offensively than Hinrich, but he’s nowhere near the defender that Hinrich is. If Hinrich is out, Williams is more likely to have a big game, which would likely mean a loss for the Bulls.