Off the Marco: Belinelli struggling
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org October 20, 2012 10:00PM
Bulls shooting guard Marco Belinelli went 0-for-5 from the field Friday and is 7-for-28 after five preseason games. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:52AM
Guard Marco Belinelli has a short memory. But it’s not short enough.
He continued to put up numbers only a mother could love in the Bulls’ 92-81 victory Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, going 0-for-5 in 18 minutes, and is 7-for-28 from the field, including 0-for-7 from three-point range, in five preseason games.
“I know I’m not playing good,’’ Belinelli said Saturday. “I didn’t score [Friday night], too. But that’s part of the game, especially for a shooting guard. Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t. I just have to keep working on my shot, and I hope it will be good.’’
Belinelli, who was brought in to fill the Kyle Korver role off the bench, said the poor shooting was starting to affect him mentally.
“Maybe a little bit, but that’s part of the game,’’ Belinelli said when asked if his confidence had taken a hit.
“I’m just trying to be positive and look forward.
“I’m happy because we won a game, but personally I know that I can be better than that, so I want to do that. I was a little bit [ticked off] about that game, but that’s part of the game. The only thing I can do is work, take my shots, and the confidence has to be more up.’’
He stayed after practice to talk to coaches and put in a little extra shooting, but coach Tom Thibodeau kept stressing that Belinelli doesn’t need to score to have value on the court.
“There are going to be nights when you don’t shoot as well as other nights,’’ Thibodeau said. “When that happens, you can’t allow that to impact how you play. You still have to sprint back, play defense.
‘‘Our team is committed to being a five-man team on offense and defense. Everyone is responsible to help each other.
“[Belinelli] can still play effectively when he’s not shooting well. I think running the floor and getting some easy baskets will help.’’
The defending champion Miami Heat doesn’t pop up on the Bulls’ schedule until early January, and forward Taj Gibson can’t wait.
Gibson was one of 13 NBA players chosen to scrimmage against the U.S. Olympic team, and that meant a good dose of guarding LeBron James.
“It was all good,’’ Gibson said of the experience. “There wasn’t any animosity knowing that they’re our rival. It was all good. I learned a lot of things from just guarding him, and hopefully I get to use it if we have to switch because knowing we switch a lot with that team, it’s going to be even tougher.’’