Kirk Hinrich was nowhere to be found in the visiting locker room at New Orleans Arena after the Bulls’ 96-87 victory Tuesday night over the Hornets.

That’s just the way that he likes it.

The veteran point guard prefers to fly under the radar, epitomizing his coach’s manta of “do your job,” while allowing his teammates to receive the fanfare afterwards.

In his first game back in the lineup after missing seven consecutive outings with an infection in his right elbow, Hinrich notched only six points on 2-for-7 shooting, but his 10 assists, three steals and more importantly, the sense of order he brought to the team was invaluable.

“I said that all along. Sometimes it gets overlooked,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “When you look at Luol, [he] gets 13, 14 shots, Carlos gets his shots, Marco and Rip get their shots. It was very well-balanced.”

Indeed, Hinrich’s floor generalship on offense, not to mention his ball pressure on the defensive end of the floor, was a missing ingredient for the Bulls in their uneven performance heading into the All-Star break.

With Hinrich back in the lineup, Deng seemed to be back in rhythm en route to a team-high 20-point night, starting backcourt mate Hamilton was again a factor to be accounted for on offense and Boozer got touches in his comfort zone.

“He played great tonight, man. For being out as long as he was out, he came back in and it was almost seamless,” Boozer said. “He did a great job of getting everybody involved, made some big plays, hit a couple of big shots for us, played great defense. He got a tough whistle tonight, but he still played great.