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updated: 3/1/2011 7:58 PM

Hinrich quickly turned around Atlanta's defense

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Given a choice, the Bulls would rather see someone other than Kirk Hinrich trying to guard Derrick Rose on Wednesday.

But they have to feel happy for Hinrich, especially after pounding his old team, Washington, 105-77 on Monday. Hinrich was sent from Washington to Atlanta at the trade deadline last week for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans.

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The "Hinrich Effect" was felt right away. In his first two games, the Hawks beat Golden State 95-79 and Portland 90-83. Note the points allowed, an average of 81 in 2 impressive road wins. The Bulls went 0-2 against those teams last month.

Without a doubt, defense is the reason the Hawks brought Hinrich on board.

"Since I've been here we've talked about defending and bringing the energy," Hinrich said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "When we do that we can be a tough team because of the talent we have and athletes and the shooters. If we can lock down on the defensive end, it will make the game a lot easier for us."

On Monday, the Hawks lost at Denver while Hinrich sat out with a calf injury. Forward Josh Smith missed the second half with a knee sprain.

So it's possible Hinrich could miss the Bulls reunion, although he did warm up before the Denver game and was listed as day to day. Smith's participation is less likely.

This is Atlanta's first home game since Feb. 12. The Hawks just completed a seven-game road trip that began before the all-star break.

Waiting on Butler:

Some of the released veterans began to settle on new teams Tuesday. Former Pacers and Nets center Troy Murphy decided to join Boston, with Mike Bibby destined for Miami.

No news yet on the Bulls' expected pursuit of former Clippers swingman Rasual Butler. He was released Monday morning and it takes 48 hours to clear waivers.

Butler's agent, Andy Miller, provided a brief update to USA Today.

"We are in the process of evaluating our options," he wrote in an e-mail, according to the paper. "I fully anticipate us signing with a high profile playoff team, with championship aspirations by no later than Thursday."

The 6-foot-7 Butler averaged better than 11 points per game the past two seasons with the Hornets and Clippers. His playing time dropped considerably this season and he accepted a contract buyout after the Clippers traded for ex-Cleveland forward Jamario Moon.

The Bulls are less likely to pursue Corey Brewer, who was released by New York on Tuesday morning. He's an athletic swingman, but not much of a shooter.

Noah gets moving:

It didn't take long at all for center Joakim Noah to resemble his energetic self, even after missing 30 games with a torn ligament in his right thumb.

He grabbed 17 rebounds at Milwaukee on Saturday in his third game back, then piled up 19 points and 11 rebounds in Monday's blowout at Washington.

"He's back, almost to the point he was at before the injury," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game. "His activity is off the charts. His defense was terrific. His rebounding is very good. And you can see, he's starting to get a lot more comfortable offensively as well."

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