Bulls rookie Marquis Teague has a very limited body of work to be judged on this season. He's played extended minutes in just two games.
Both of those games were eye-openers, though.
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On Nov. 12 at the United Center, Teague took on Boston's Rajon Rondo and played the entire fourth quarter. The Bulls outscored the Celtics 25-19 in the fourth and nearly erased a 13-point deficit.
On Wednesday in Philadelphia, Teague went against Sixers guard Jrue Holiday, a candidate to make the all-star team this year, and led the Bulls to a 96-89 victory. They trailed by 3 midway through the fourth quarter in that one.
Even at age 19, with one year at Kentucky under his belt, Teague showed no signs that he was either nervous or intimidated by the situation.
"It's just basketball," he said after Friday's practice. "I've been playing guys my whole life -- George Hill, my brother, Eric Gordon, those guys. I can take on a challenge with anybody, I feel."
Teague's older brother, Jeff, is an established NBA point guard. They grew up at a time when Indianapolis was loaded with talented players. Hill (Indiana) and Gordon (New Orleans) were nearby, while Boston's Courtney Lee was a teammate of Jeff Teague at Pike High School.
"In this league, guys are going to hit tough shots on you," Marquis Teague said. "You've just got to continue to defend and keep playing. I'm pretty quick. I can stay in front of most guys and get around most guys. That always helps."
So far, Teague has gotten quality playing time only when starter Kirk Hinrich was out with an injury. Hinrich missed the Philadelphia game with a bruised left knee. He did not practice Friday, but Thibodeau said there's a chance Hinrich could play Saturday against Brooklyn.
Has Teague gotten to a point where he's earned playing time regardless of Hinrich's health status?
"Every time he's been out there, he's done a good job," Thibodeau said. "And he's only going to get better and better. But he still has a long way to go. It's not an end-all. The team functioned well when he's on the floor, which is how I evaluate the point guards. I think he can do a lot better, too."
Teague said his contributions haven't gone unnoticed. Fans recognize him sometimes and one even offered a reward for the Philadelphia win.
"Someone did yesterday," he said. "They wanted to take me to Starbucks or something like that."