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posted: 10/21/2012 7:57 PM

Thibs not overly concerned with Belinelli's poor shooting

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  • Former Bulls center Omer Asik, now playing with Houston, leads the NBA with 11 rebounds per game in the preseason.

      Former Bulls center Omer Asik, now playing with Houston, leads the NBA with 11 rebounds per game in the preseason.
    Associated Press

 
 

So far, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been showing patience with shooting guard Marco Belinelli, at least in talks with the media.

Belinelli has yet to shoot well in preseason. After going 0-for-5 in Friday's win over Minnesota, his overall field-goal percentage is .250 and he's 0-for-7 from 3-point range.

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"You guys judge him strictly by how he shoots," Thibodeau said. "He made a number of good plays off the dribble. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and make a good play and he also has the ability to play good defense.

"The nights he doesn't shoot well, he can still play well for us. And that's what I expect. I know his offense will come around."

Belinelli averaged a career-high 11.4 points per game for New Orleans last season. That was while averaging nearly 30 minutes per game. He doesn't figure to play nearly as much for the Bulls, unless Richard Hamilton gets hurt.

"When he's open, I want him to shoot," Thibodeau said of Belinelli. "If he passes up an open shot, then it's going to lead to a lesser shot for us. He's got to shoot and he can play well when he's not shooting well. There are a lot of other things he can do."

If Belinelli can't get it going, Thibodeau could play Luol Deng or Jimmy Butler at shooting guard, or slide Kirk Hinrich over when Nate Robinson is in the game at the point.

Early numbers are in:

Preseason stats don't mean a whole lot, but it is interesting to see two familiar names among the league leaders in rebounds.

•Through Saturday's games, ex-Bulls center Omer Asik is No. 1 with 11.0 boards per game, followed by Joakim Noah at 10.4.

•Maybe Houston's high-priced signings this summer will pay off. Point guard Jeremy Lin leads the league in steals at 2.5 per game and is tied with Kirk Hinrich for fifth in assists (6.5).

•In the teams stats, the Bulls are coming together defensively, ranking third in both points allowed (86.2) and defensive field-goal percentage (.404), second in rebounds per game (48) and steals (11.6), and fourth in blocks (6.4).

•Offensively, though, they rank 28th in points scored (86.4), 29th in field-goal percentage (.391) and last in 3-point percentage (.209).

Upon further review:

After Friday's win over Minnesota, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau second-guessed his decision to pull Joakim Noah after 2 early fouls.

"Jo got that early foul, I probably should have just left him in," Thibodeau said. "I thought that took away his offensive rhythm, but I liked the way he was reacting to the ball defensively. You take him out, it kills his rhythm. I don't know. I do like the depth up front."

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