Sliding Magic drop another

By wire services
Published January 2, 2005

CHICAGO - Kirk Hinrich did plenty to help the Bulls' offense, but it was his work on defense that impressed his coach.

Hinrich scored 18 points and had nine assists, and Eddy Curry added 22 points in Chicago's 105-90 victory over the Magic on Saturday night.

Hinrich has figured out how to guard Orlando's Steve Francis, who was held to 12 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Cuttino Mobley was also kept in check, scoring six points on 2-of-10 shooting.

"Francis is right up there one on one with one of the hardest guys to guard, and for whatever reason Kirk has been able now to keep him in front and make him take tougher shots," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.

Grant Hill scored 16 points for Orlando, which lost its third straight overall and fifth straight on the road.

"It was tough," Francis said. "There's nothing you can really say. We didn't play hard. And it started with the starters."