Bulls Trounce Celtics, 107-87

Friday, February 13th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Rookie Kirk Hinrich can feel good about his game headed to Los Angeles, where he'll showcase his talents with and against some of the NBA's best young players.

Coming off a two-point performance against Indiana earlier in the week, Hinrich made sure his final game before the All-Star break was memorable.

He got open and hit his shots, and when someone else had a better look at the basket, he got them the ball.

The result: season highs of 23 points and 14 assists Thursday night to help the Chicago Bulls rout the Boston Celtics 107-87 in the final game before the break.

``One thing that Kirk does that is the mark of a good pro for someone that young is that when he has a game that is not up to his level, he responds,'' Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.

In the only other NBA games Thursday night, Denver beat Portland 107-98, and Seattle routed Toronto 94-74.

Hinrich and young backcourt running mate Jamal Crawford played as well as they have all season. Crawford scored 27 points against Boston's weak defense in the Bulls' most lopsided win this season.

``We fed off each other,'' said Crawford, who also played tough defense on All-Star Paul Pierce, helping hold him to four points, matching a season low. ``Kirk had it going. I just tried to play off him. We had it going together. I think it opened up stuff for everybody else.''

Hinrich made six 3s in matching his scoring high, Crawford had four, and Chicago finished 11-of-23 from long range.

``I wanted to have a good game, I wasn't happy with the way I played last game,'' Hinrich said. ``Everyone took it upon themselves to do their jobs.''

Pierce made just one of six shots as Boston fell to 1-7 under interim coach John Carroll. Chris Mihm led the Celtics with 14 points.

``The had a great game plan against me. They limited my touches,'' Pierce said. ``It wasn't my shooting. I just didn't touch the ball a lot. They did a good job and we didn't adjust.''

The Bulls had lost 13 of their previous 15, including seven of their last eight.

Hinrich had 18 points in the first two quarters to spark Chicago's highest-scoring half of the season.

The Bulls took a 61-46 lead behind Hinrich's 3-point shooting _ he hit five of six _ and his 11 assists.

After the Celtics cut the lead back 11 early in the third, Crawford got wide open for a pair of 3-pointers and Hinrich punctuated a 23-7 run with his sixth 3-pointer, giving Chicago a 92-65 lead.

Chicago's victory came hours after forward Jerome Williams criticized teammates for not knowing where to be on the floor.

``No team I have been on has ever been like that,'' Williams said. ``You do say something, but I can't make somebody learn the plays. ... That's the least they can expect _ know their jobs. That's like a trash man going to work and not knowing where to pick up their garbage.''

Also, suspended Boston forward Vin Baker missed his 10th straight game, a number that could allow the team to terminate his contract. Director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he doesn't know when or if Baker will return.

Nuggets 107, Trail Blazers 98

At Portland, Ore., Voshon Lenard had 31 points to help Denver beat the new-look Trail Blazers.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau made their first appearances for the Blazers, three days after joining Portland in a trade that sent temperamental star Rasheed Wallace and reserve Wesley Person to Atlanta.

Abdur-Rahim led the Blazers with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Ratliff had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie Carmelo Anthony added 27 points for Denver.

SuperSonics 94, Raptors 74

At Seattle, Ray Allen scored 23 points, and Rashard Lewis had 22 points and nine rebounds for the SuperSonics.

Alvin Williams led the Raptors with a season-high 20 points, Vince Carter had 19 points, and Donyell Marshall added 16 points and 17 rebounds.