Although Kirk Hinrich returned to the United Center a few weeks ago when the Bulls and Washington Wizards played in the preseason, Hinrich acknowledged before Saturday night's game there was some different about this visit.
"It counts," he said. "It's meaningful for our team, for sure. We're struggling a little bit right now. We're definitely struggling to finish out games. It's a big game for us.
"It's nice to come back here for me. I've got so many good relationships with guys on the team and in the organization."
Hinrich has adjusted to being a member of the Wizards, but still is adjusting to being a visitor at the UC.
"It's a little weird," he said. "The preseason was really weird sitting in that other locker room. I kind of got a feel in the preseason what it would be like. The main thing is to just try to focus on basketball. I can talk to a bunch of people and everything like that, but I still have to keep my mind on that it's a big game for us."
A year ago, Hinrich was starting along side Derrick Rose with the Bulls and now is starting for Washington in the backcourt with another explosive point, rookie John Wall.
"He's very talented," Hinrich said of Wall. "He has the tools to be an unbelievable player in this league. I think where he can be probably the most special -- which people don't talk about -- is defensively. He's so long and so fast. He can really cause havoc."