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Bulls’ Marquis Teague shaping up, making strong contribution

Chicago Bulls Vs MinnesotTimberwolves 4-Quarter. chicago Bulls No. 25 Marquis Teague battles off Two MinnesotTimberwolves No.47 Andrei Kirilenko No.1 Alexey

Chicago Bulls Vs Minnesota Timberwolves, 4-Quarter. chicago Bulls No. 25 Marquis Teague battles off Two Minnesota Timberwolves No.47 Andrei Kirilenko and No.1 Alexey Shved. November 1, 2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 18, 2013 6:21AM

After a rough stretch of summer-league games, questions arose about whether point guard Marquis Teague , 19, was ready for the NBA.

Those questions have been answered.

Over the last several weeks, Teague has seen action in key situations and has been up to the task, playing at a level the Bulls expected from him after they selected him with the 29th pick in the 2012 draft.

Coach Tom Thibodeau provided some insight as to why Teague didn’t initially play at that level.

“It’s a lesson he probably learned,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘The biggest thing about the summer league is he was in very poor shape, and I think once he got into really good shape again, you could see his talent, and he’s very smart.

“It’s a big jump for a four-year guy to come into the pros, and they had a heck of a run at Kentucky, probably didn’t do a whole lot from the time they won the championship to the summer league. You know when you’re 19, I guess sometimes that’s what happens.”

Teague had his best outing of the season in the 83-82 victory Saturday over the Nets.

He scored eight points in 20 minutes and played key minutes in the fourth quarter. With the Bulls down six and less than five minutes to play, Teague scored four consecutive points and assisted on forward Luol Deng’s game-tying basket with 1:01 left.

“I’m impressed,” guard Kirk Hinrich said. “He seems so poised, and sometimes you forget that he’s just 19. He’s done a great job.”

Digging deep

Shooting guard Marco Belinelli ended up as the offensive hero against the Nets after making a clutch layup, but Thibodeau was pleased with the entire group’s poise.

“The entire team from the six-minute mark on in the fourth quarter really dug down and made some tough plays,” Thibodeau said. “Marco had the big drive off the pick-and-roll, and Marquis got his hands on some loose balls. We needed all that and just the mental toughness.”

Increased activity

Shooting guard Richard Hamilton, who has sat out the last seven games with a torn plantar fascia, is increasing his on-court activity. Thibodeau still classified him as day-to-day, but Hamilton was taking set shots during individual drills in practice.

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