Hinrich helps Bulls to tough road win over Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After three frustrating quarters of perimeter
shooting, Kirk Hinrich decided to attack the basket -- and he made
it look easy.

Hinrich scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter after
getting into early foul trouble, Jannero Pargo added 17 off the
bench, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Los Angeles Clippers 97-91 on
Sunday night.

"I was getting good looks on jump shots, but they weren't
falling," Hinrich said. "Every one I took felt like it was going
in -- and it kept going in and out. But I wanted to still be
aggressive and make plays for the team. We were able to exploit
them on the pick-and-roll, and I was able to get a few layups. So
we just kept milking it."

The Bulls got 46 points from their reserves in the finale of a
2-5 road trip against Western Conference teams. The victory,
coupled with Philadelphia's loss at Washington, put Chicago within
two games of the 76ers for the eighth and final Eastern Conference
playoff spot.

"It's been a tough road trip, but we continued to fight and
work hard, and fortunately we were able to come out with a win,"
Pargo said. "We had a great game plan. We knew that Brand and
Kaman were very good inside, so we definitely wanted to double down
real hard with our guards and just try to keep the ball out of the

Elton Brand had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers after
tying a career-high with 44 points in Friday's win against Memphis.
Brand began his NBA career with the Bulls, who made him the first
overall pick in the 1999 draft and then traded him to the Clippers
exactly two years later for Tyson Chandler.

"It's definitely disappointing, but I don't think we took them
lightly," Brand said. "Coach told us they play hard and they
execute well. They played a solid game defensively and they had
guys all over the place. They outmuscled us and outfought us."

Chicago led by as many as 12 points on a layup by Luol Deng with
11:28 to play. The Clippers narrowed the gap to 81-77 as rookie
James Singleton slammed home a missed shot and added a baseline
jumper to cap a 10-2 run with 7:40 remaining. But Hinrich answered
with a layup on the Bulls' next possession, then made three more
layups in a 58-second span to give them a 93-85 cushion with 2:59

"He gave them a lot of problems on our high-screen
pick-and-roll," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We put the ball
in his hands and let him make decisions. He made big plays, but our
defense won the game for us. We did a nice job of swarming in the
paint and picking up loose balls."

Los Angeles got as close as 93-91 with 29 seconds left, as Brand
converted a layup after his first shot was blocked by Andres
Nocioni. But Hinrich and Nocioni each sank a pair of free throws to
clinch it.

The Clippers, who had beaten Chicago in nine of the previous 10
meetings and five straight times at home, shot only 37 percent over
the first three quarters. Pargo capped a 13-3 run with a pair of
mid-range jumpers to give the Bulls a 76-65 lead with a minute left
in the third.

Hinrich and Skiles were assessed technical fouls by referee Ken
Mauer for arguing after Hinrich picked up his second personal foul
with 6:25 left in the first quarter. Pargo came in for him and
scored 11 points before halftime, including a 16-footer that capped
a 10-0 run and put Chicago ahead 51-50 with 3.2 seconds left in the
second quarter.

Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley, wearing a glove to protect a
dislocated knuckle on his shooting hand, was 4-for-12 from the
field and scored 11 points while backcourt mate Sam Cassell missed
10 of his first 14 shots and finished with 18.

Quinton Ross, who has been starting at small forward for the
injured Corey Maggette, sat out the second half because of a sore
back. He is scheduled for a precautionary MRI on Monday.

Game notes
The Bulls are 11-12 since Ben Gordon, last season's sixth
man of the year, was inserted into the starting lineup at shooting
guard in place of the struggling Chris Duhon. Duhon missed the game
because of a bruised left thigh. ... Chicago came in averaging 41.7
bench points. ... Gordon and Clippers G Shaun Livingston were
picked 3-4 in the 2004 draft. ... Nine of Chicago's 22 victories
have been decided by six points or less.