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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teague struggles in summer-league debut, but Jimmy shines

LAS VEGAS — Nobody said this rookie stuff would be easy.

As first-round pick Marquis Teague struggled mightily, the Bulls dropped their summer-league opener 79-74 to the Celtics on Tuesday night at Cox Pavilion.

Teague missed 13 of 17 shots and committed six turnovers with one assist in 31 minutes, 30 seconds.

"I had a rough game," Teague said. "I'm ready to bounce back Wednesday."

The Bulls surrendered a 21-2 run to close the first half and trailed by as many as 23. Last year's first-round pick Jimmy Butler, who finished with a game-high 25 points, led a second-half comeback that pulled the Bulls within five.

"It took us a whole half to wake up," said assistant coach Adrian Griffin, who is running the summer-league team. "I thought we would come out with more intensity. The second quarter got away from us."

Butler added seven rebounds and three assists and got to the line 12 times in an aggressive performance that featured him attacking the rim often.

"I was just trying to stay aggressive," Butler said. "By me being aggressive, hopefully my teammates would take after that and start to be aggressive too."

Butler shook off leg cramps late to play a game-high 35 minutes, 49 seconds.

"I felt like Luol Deng," Butler said, joking. "I'm fine. I just have to get my fluids up."

Butler's strong play spilled over into leadership. Despite not playing summer league last season because of the labor struggles and lockout, he repeatedly got into Teague's ear, offering advice and encouragement.

"I told him to keep shooting," Butler said. "If you don't keep shooting, you're never going to make it. That's what I was trying to get him to understand. Stay aggressive coming off ball screens. He's always the first option. You have to make teams respect you can shoot it before you can get to the cup."

Teague appreciated the help.

"In the first half, I was too fast, making silly mistakes," he said. "In the second half, I slowed down and things worked better for us. We came back. So I want to take off from the second half Wednesday."

The Bulls face the Rockets at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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