Kirk Hinrich will travel with the Bulls for their back-to-back contests against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, but he's still yet to practice because of a sore back and at least for now, he's doubtful for Houston on Wednesday.
"He's better," coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "If he improves again, there's a possibility (he'll play.) But I don't want to speculate and say it looks good or it looks bad. He did shooting, so that's better."
If Hinrich is unable to go, expect D.J. Augustine to start over Marquis Teague as the point guard exhibited Monday that his understanding of the offense is where it needs to be at least to create opportunities for himself as well as his teammates.
Augustin played 37 minutes in Monday's loss to the Orlando Magic and Teague only 11.
The Bulls will need whatever positive push they can get offensively as they've failed to hit 40 percent from the field in five of their last six games. Worse than that, after Monday's loss, Thibodeau and others in the locker room noticed the energy that's expected of them defensively wasn't there as players were jogging back after misses. Their defensive intensity really didn't pick up until the last five minutes of the fourth.
"I saw a lot of that out there. We’re better than that," Taj Gibson said. "It’s not like I think our mentality is we think we’re just going to win. Every team in the NBA has phenomenal players. Everyone is in the league for a reason. No team is just going to let you go out there and punch them in the mouth. We have to have that attack mentality and we’ve really been lackadaisical on defense and that should never happen. We have to do better."