When Kirk Hinrich and Richard Hamilton entered the first team meeting of this Bulls season, the veteran guards just laughed.

After all the bumping and battling, jousting and jostling, they finally were teammates.

"It's more fun than coming off 15 screens, getting scratched up everywhere," Hinrich said, in typical deadpan fashion, of guarding Hamilton.

The benefit to all their battles is a sense of familiarity forged from years of white-hot competition. With Hamilton set to return for Tuesday's exhibition against Scott Skiles' Bucks after getting Saturday night off, look for the chemistry to continue.

"When we first saw each other, we were like, 'Man, it's nice to finally be on the same side,'" Hinrich said. "And it's been a pretty seamless transition so far. When he's coming off screens, it's real easy to read what he's going to do just from playing against him so many times.

"We talk out there about little things we see as the game or practice is going on. We talk about things that will be there offensively based on how we're reading the defense. It's been fun."