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Opening Tip: Teague happy to be back

1/16/2014

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Marquis Teague is happy to be back in an NBA locker room. The second-year point guard returned to the Chicago Bulls' bench Wednesday night after spending close to a month in the D-League.

"It was good," Teague said of his D-League experience. "It just felt good to really get out there and get a chance to play. Go out there and play my game and just have some fun."

Teague admitted he lost some of his confidence over the past few months. He struggled to find a regular place in coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation since the season began.

"Yeah, you lose your rhythm," he said. "A lot of things. It's kind of like you just got to stay in the gym as much as you can, keep working. But it's tough. It's easier said than done. It's tough."

Thibodeau was asked before the game whether Teague's lack of development is hurting the Bulls' long-term point guard development.

"I guess you guys take a much broader view than I do," he said. "I'm just worried about tonight and [Thursday]. That's it. Anytime you have a young player ... Marquis has had some good moments too. He's still very young. We look at [Erik Murphy] the same way. You're usually going to play eight or nine guys. The guys who aren't in the rotation have to stay ready. You never know. You're an injury or foul trouble away from being in there. You're trying to figure out what's best for the team first. Then you look at the player and ask yourself if he would benefit from playing in a few games down there. That's what we do. At the end of the season, we'll look at where he is and go from there."

For his part, Teague said the biggest thing he learned in the D-League was to just try to stay aggressive. He said he kept in touch with Bulls players, coaches and front-office executives during his stint with the Iowa Energy.

"They just want me to go out there and get some confidence going and just get some minutes," Teague said of the front office's message. "That's just my opportunity to play, and I tried to use it as that and just grow as a player."

Murphy to the D-League?: With Teague back on the Bulls' roster, Thibodeau hinted again that Murphy, a rookie, might be headed to the D-League soon.

"We'll take a look at it," Thibodeau said. "And things have to match up in terms of where we are in terms of what we need in practice and also where they are in terms of where they are with their games. It worked out; I believe Marquis played in eight games, so that was good. It was a short amount of time for him to be away but a lot of games. So that was good."

The last word: Bulls forward Taj Gibson on bouncing back physically and mentally from another triple-overtime game: "Well, we got a day and a half. [We'll] get some rest. But most importantly, we've got guys that just live in the gym. I went to the gym [Tuesday] night. Tony Snell lives in the gym. We've got guys [who are] really hungry to get better and stay in the gym. So I bet a lot of guys will be in the gym [Thursday] to get ready for this next game."

The last word, Part II: Thibodeau on Jimmy Butler's performance on Wednesday night: "Jimmy, 60 minutes, named after a TV show, I guess. He was awesome."

Thibodeau also noted that his favorite TV show is "60 Minutes."