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Rondo gives Teague a lesson in Celtics’ 101-95 win over Bulls

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed Bostcenter KevGarnett battle for control ball second quarter Chicago Bulls-BostCeltics NBA game Monday November 12 2012

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed and Boston center Kevin Garnett battle for control of the ball in the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls-Boston Celtics NBA game Monday November 12, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 14, 2012 6:26AM



Out of frustration and desperation, the Bulls showed a glimpse of the future Monday night. And — as hard as rookie Marquis Teague tried — it is still a little ways away.

With Kirk Hinrich out with an injury, coach Tom Thibodeau left Teague at the controls in crunch time against the Boston Celtics at the United Center. And while Teague didn’t back down from the challenge against Rajon Rondo, his inexperience showed as the Celtics fended off a Bulls rally for a 101-95 victory.

Rondo was scoreless in the final quarter against Teague, but fed Kevin Garnett for dunks twice down the stretch after the Bulls had rallied from a 13-point deficit. The second made the difference as Rondo drove Teague into a Paul Pierce screen, penetrated the lane and floated a pass to Garnett for a dunk that gave the Celtics a 97-93 lead with 41 seconds left.

Lesson learned? We’ll see.

‘‘Every game I play is a learning experience,’’ said Teague, who finished with five points on 1-for-4 shooting, two assists and one turnover. ‘‘I’m a rookie. I just take it and run with it. I was happy to get the opportunity to compete. But I wanted to get the win.’’

Nate Robinson started in place of Hinrich and struggled to contain Rondo, who finished with 20 points on 10-for-16 shooting, 10 assists and nine rebounds. But Teague, who played six minutes through the first three quarters, played the ­entire fourth quarter.

‘‘I liked the way he matched up with his speed,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘[Leandro] Barbosa is extremely quick — I thought his speed was good with that matchup. Rondo obviously is super quick. I like that matchup. It got us going. It got us playing with energy.’’

Teague, 19, still has a long way to go. His opportunity was a matter of strategy, but also out of Thibodeau’s frustration that his team lacked the verve to stop not only Rondo, but anybody else. The Celtics shot 60 percent in taking a 58-46 halftime lead.

Asked what the difference was in the fourth quarter, Thibodeau said curtly, ‘‘We tried.’’

That might be Teague’s ­strongest suit at this point.

‘‘I thought he played very well,’‘ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He played hard. That’s the first step.’’

The Celtics led 87-74 with 10:05 left when Joakim Noah (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Luol Deng (26 points, 11 rebounds) converted three-point plays in an 8-0 run with Rondo out of the game to cut it to 87-82.

Rondo returned and Teague gave him his best shot. After Noah hit two free throws to cut it to 87-84 with 8:23 to play, Teague drove the lane for an apparent basket but was called for pushing off. ­Undaunted, he drove the lane again, but came up empty.

‘‘I thought it was an ‘and-one’,’’ Teague said of the first drive against Garnett. ‘‘I didn’t know [it wasn’t] until they called me for the foul.’’



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