Kirk Hinrich has been a key reason the Chicago Bulls have a 3-1 lead over the Brooklyn Nets in their first-round playoff series.
After a Game 1 Nets win where Deron Williams did pretty much as he pleased against the Bulls defense (22 points on 9-of-15 shooting), coach Tom Thibodeau switched Hinrich onto Williams and the veteran guard made D-Will’s life difficult. In Game 2, Williams had 8 points. Game 3 it was 18 on 14 shots. And while in Game 4 Williams had 32 points and 10 assists, he shot just 11-of-25 and had 7 turnovers.
But Hinrich has a bruised calf and when the Bulls showed up for shootaround Hinrich was there, but…
With him out look for Nate Robinson to get the start and you will see a lot more of Marco Belinelli, Jimmy Butler and Rip Hamilton.
The bigger concern is the long term — if the Bulls are without Hinrich for Game 6 and, if it gets there, a Game 7, this could alter the series dramatically.