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New Bulls guard Marco Belinelli looks lost in Thibodeau’s system

Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli

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Bulls
preseason

All games at 7 p.m., except
Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.

Date Opponent TV

Oct. 9 Bulls 92, Grizzlies 88

Oct. 12 Cavs 86, Bulls 83

Oct. 13 T’wolves 82, Bulls 75

Tuesday Milwaukee CSN

Friday Minnesota CSN

Oct. 23 Oklahoma City CSN+

Oct. 26 Indiana* CSN

* in South Bend, Ind.

Season opener

Oct. 31 Sacramento Ch. 9

Updated: November 17, 2012 6:23AM



There have been times through the first three preseason games that the moment has appeared to be too big for Marco Belinelli.

On Monday, the Bulls shooting guard admitted that so far it has been.

“I don’t want to use this as an excuse, but for me it’s a new system, and for me this is really the first time I’ve played with a top-level team,’’ Belinelli confessed.

Obviously, life with playoff-challenged teams such as Golden State, Toronto and New Orleans over the last five seasons hasn’t prepared the 6-5 scorer for the Bulls, or more specifically, life with coach Tom Thibodeau. But Belinelli might want to get over those feelings of being overwhelmed real soon, like starting tonight when the team hosts the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center.

There are big plans for this team, as far as Thibodeau is ­concerned, and it’s either all-in or in the way.

“The big thing is the attitude and approach, concentrate on the improvement,’’ Thibodeau said. “Knowing what your job is is very important, and then going out and doing your job, those are two big pieces you’ve got to get right. We’re getting there in that area. And the big thing is knowing when to shoot, knowing when to pass, knowing our schemes defensively, and staying disciplined. We’ve hit a few snags.’’

Two specifically: Vladimir Radmanovic and Belinelli.

Radmanovic was supposed to come in off the bench, and at 6-10, be a big “3” or shooting “4” for Thibodeau. He’s 1-for-6, and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc so far.

More was counted on from Belinelli, who was supposed to pick up the scoring void left when Kyle Korver was traded.

Instead, he looks anchored down by the new system.

“I mean we have a lot of plays, it’s a new system, and the defense, you know,’’ Belinelli responded, when asked if this system is tougher than previous ones he’s played in. “Everything is new for me, and I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but it’s maybe two weeks that we’ve played all together. Maybe with this thing you need some time, but we’re going to be good.’’

Luol Deng sat out of the loss to Minnesota on Saturday with a tweaked groin, and getting a perspective from the bench opened his eyes on just how much work the offense needs with just over two weeks until the games count.

“That’s why the preseason is so good for us this year,’’ Deng said. “Last year, we didn’t need it as much, the year before we did, but definitely when you are sitting and watching you see how much we still have to do. We got a lot to do. Getting everyone on the same page and getting everyone in one rhythm.’’

Thibodeau will have Deng [groin] and Rip Hamilton back in the starting lineup against the Bucks, so Belinelli will come off the bench after starting Saturday. It might be time to start showing something.

“I’m just trying to do my job, but I know that when I am on the court I have to be better on defense, try to create some plays for my teammates,’’ Belinelli added. “I didn’t score well in these three games in the preseason, but the shot will come.’’



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