CHICAGO – As a handful of his teammates battled various injuries and illnesses Thursday, Bulls rookie point guard Marquis Teague prepared for his role as the next man up.
“Any time you get on the floor, it’s an opportunity to show what you can do,” Teague said. “Try to make your name.”
It has been tough for Teague to make his name at the end of the Bulls’ bench this season.
Teague, 20, played sparingly in 48 out of 82 games during the regular season after the Bulls selected him with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.3 assists a game while shooting 38.1 percent from the field.
Once the playoffs started, Teague’s role diminished further. He appeared in two of the Bulls’ first five games against the Brooklyn Nets, combining for two points in three minutes.
However, a calf injury to Kirk Hinrich and an illness to Nate Robinson left the Bulls’ backcourt in need of reinforcements for Game 6. Hinrich was ruled out before the game, while Robinson started despite not feeling well.
Teague started the second quarter and finished with two points on 1-for-3 shooting.
Whenever the Bulls called on him to contribute, Teague said, his mission was clear.
“Get in the paint, like I always do,” Teague said. “Try to get to the rack [and] either get a layup or create for one of my teammates. Try to pressure the ball.”
Valuable vet: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau went out of his way to praise 14-year NBA veteran Nazr Mohammed for his late-season contributions to the team.
Mohammed, 35, entered Thursday averaging 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds a game during the Bulls’ first-round playoff series. The Bulls have needed his contributions because starter Joakim Noah has been limited because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
“Nazr in particular has worked extremely hard,” Thibodeau said. “We needed him down the stretch. We needed him in the series. He’s gotten out there and he’s done a good job for us.”
Trivia time: Nets center Brook Lopez became the first player to score at least 20 points in five consecutive playoff games against the Bulls since a certain Hall of Famer center in the mid-1990s.
We’ll give you another second.
If you guessed Patrick Ewing, give yourself a prize. The New York Knicks’ big man averaged 23.4 points in five playoff games against Michael Jordan and the Bulls in 1996.