Trailing the Brooklyn Nets by six points with five minutes remaining, the Chicago Bulls looked like they were in bad shape. They were shooting 2/12 from the field in the quarter and had been outscored 15 to 4.
Their savior? Rookie Marquis Teague.
Teague drove the lane for a layup to make it a four-point game. Then he hit a jumper to pull within two. A few minutes later, after the teams traded scores, he found Luol Deng on a fast break for a dunk to tie it at 79.
It's hard to argue that a rookie should just be handed a starting job — or even a backup job — on the strength of two games. But Kirk Hinrich is really not very good anymore and Nate Robinson is inconsistent enough that he's not really all that reliable on a game-to-game basis. Teague should definitely get minutes more consistently, but making the argument that he should start and/or play 40 minutes a night seems excessive.
Anyway, in other news, Joakim Noah notched yet another 10/10/5 game, putting up 12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He could have shot better, but he's been great this year and did so again tonight. Carlos Boozer had 15, Luol Deng had 17 and Marco Belinelli led the Bulls with 19, including 6 of the last 8 on two layups and two free throws.
As per usual, a strong defensive performance overcame a mediocre offensive one. The Nets never seemed to find a consistent rhythm and shot just 38.7 percent from the field. Brooklyn actually pounded the Bulls on the glass, but the Bulls made it work anyway. 18 turnovers from the Nets certainly helped.
Now the Bulls have a day off to prepare for the Memphis Grizzlies before heading to Memphis on Monday. No word yet on whether Hinrich will be ready by then, but we can hope he won't be.
Player o' the Game: Joakim Noah (12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks)
As much as it pains me not to go with Teague here, Joakim is still the glue that holds the team together. God only knows where the Bulls would be without him.
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