With Hinrich hurt, Teague ready for his moment

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With Hinrich hurt, Teague ready for his moment

Bulls starting point guard Kirk Hinrich exited Saturday nights home win over the Timberwolves with 1:18 left in the second quarter, never to return. Hinrich suffered a strained right hip and while his status moving forward is uncertain, the veterans absence from the starting lineup isn't a huge concern as of yet.
Thats because backup point guard Nate Robinson once again stepped up with a stellar performance in reliefsans his five turnoversscoring 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and sparking a Bulls team that struggled offensively in the 89-80 victory. But Robinson is unlikely to play all 48 minutes of games until Hinrich returns, meaning 19-year-old rookie Marquis Teague must see some action in reserve.
The little-used Indianapolis native scored his first regular-season NBA points Saturday, on an aggressive driving layup immediately after checking into the game late in the third quarter, so he has that milestone out of the way. Now, assuming Hinrich has to miss any amount of time, hes tasked with having to be a productive contributor in non-blowout situations.
If hes in that locker room, he can play and Ive been very pleased with what hes done in practice. He gets there early, hes been working hard, hes practicing well, so I felt that when his opportunity would come, I had a good feeling about him performing well, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. Hes done a good job, hes got an opportunity to improve, hes been performing well. I thought he had that one drive that was terrific. He attacked the basket, using speed, finished strongly. Hes got to continue to do that.
Added Robinson: "He's young, but he's learning. He has a great group of guys here to help him out. He'll be just fine."
As for Teague himself, he played it nonchalant afterwards, as if hes used to throngs of reporters hounding him for quotes after NBA games. But on a serious note, the former University of Kentucky point guard did try to assert himself on the court and has made real progress since the long-ago days of the preseason, let alone the NBAs summer league in Las Vegas.
I felt pretty comfortable. Its just basketball. Im just going out doing what Thibs asks me to do, just trying to play under control, Teague said. It felt good. Get a bucket in, just to help my team.
Im just paying attention to what Kirk and Nate do, watching everything they do, its helping me out, and I feel like Im developing a lot, he added. I wasnt really overwhelmed. I was comfortable. I felt like I was ready to come out there and play, and help my team win.
The younger brother of Atlanta Hawks starting point guard Jeff Teaguehimself appearing to be on the verge of having a breakout seasonis starting to understand Thibodeaus edict of young players learning how to be a professional, which is reflected in his work ethic. Teague can often be seen at the Berto Center after practice, working on his outside jumper with assistant coachesparticularly shooting guru Ron Adamsor getting advice from his teammates.
A lot of early mornings and late nights, just staying in the gym constantly, trying to show people you can play at this level, he explained. Everybodys been helping, talking to me. Thats why I love this team, such great guys on this team.

Three Bears necessities to lay a broom on the Lions

Three Bears necessities to lay a broom on the Lions

If the Lions beat the Bears in Detroit, it'd be a recent rarity. No, not the Bears losing, but in this long series that reaches 175 games Sunday. One team or the other has swept the season series 11 of the last 12 years (the lone exception being 2011). The 17-14 Bears win Oct. 2 ended a string of six consecutive losses to their division rivals. At that point, both clubs were 1-3. The Bears have remained at that pace since, while the Lions have taken off, winning seven of eight.

It was Brian Hoyer's steady hand that guided that win, while a Vic Fangio defense missing Eddie Goldman, Pernell McPhee and Danny Trevathan forced Matthew Stafford into easily his worst game of the season.

1. STAY COMMITTED

That first meeting was Jordan Howard's first start, and his first 100-yard game, and the rook ran it 23 times for the first of five 100-yard rushing efforts (113). And since the two Bears touchdowns were scored by a couple of players who won't suit up Sunday (Eddie Royal and Zach Miller, from a quarterback who also won't be suiting up), keep feeding the beast. He's 117 yards from reaching the 1,000-yard mark (after just a dozen carries the first three games), and another 100-yard effort would give him the most for a rookie in Bears franchise history.

2. A FASTER START FOR MATT

...meaning Barkley, not Stafford. The Bears want to avoid a faster start by Stafford and the home offense, which was held to just one first down and 14 total plays on their first four possessions back in October. As Barkley makes his first NFL road start in a dome, he and his offensive teammates need to get out of the gate quicker than they have the last two home games. Before they got things rolling on the final drive of the first half against the San Francisco 49ers, they had four possessions that totaled 14 plays, 27 net yards and two first downs. In Barkley's first start two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans, they surrounded one 13-play touchdown drive in the opening half with five possessions, totaling 16 plays, 108 yards, three first downs, and an interception.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

3. HOO-RATIO

The Bears have lost the turnover battle in eight of their 12 games, and just twice have they won it. One of those instances was in Week 4. For a team that has just five interceptions all year, against a quarterback who's thrown just five picks, two came in the first meeting on the lakefront. And those picks were by (....wait for it....) Deiondre Hall (the rookie who'll play for the first time since that game), and Jacoby Glenn, who's now back on the practice squad. Now, yes, Stafford is a different beast in his den, and there's a completely different confidence level now for the NFC North leaders. But what if the defense can pull an encore? And can Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks pick up where they left off against another mobile quarterback? The Bears had just two sacks in the first meeting, registered by (....wait for it....) Mitch Unrein and Cornelius Washington.

** Finish up your snow removal by 11 a.m. Plop yourself in front of CSN, and watch ex-Bears Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Alex Brown join Chris for Bears Pregame Live. Then as soon as the second quarter ends on CBS, log on here to CSNChicago.com as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over second half adjustments on Bears Halftime Live. Finally, as soon as the team's start sharing handshakes, flip back to CSN as the three ex-Bears and Chris provide 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, press conferences and locker room interviews from Detroit on Bears Postgame Live. **

Complete Bears-Lions coverage on CSN

Complete Bears-Lions coverage on CSN

The Bears and Detroit Lions square off Sunday at noon and CSN Chicago has you covered along the way.

Check out a schedule of Sunday's events:

— Meijer Bears Pregame Live with Chris Boden, Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Jim Miller airs at 11 a.m. on CSN.

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live streaming live on CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBears.com.

— State Farm Bears Postgame Live airing immediately after the game on CSN.

Important Twitter follows:

— John "Moon" Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin), CSNChicago

— Bears Talk (@CSNBears), CSNChicago

— Kip Lewis (@CSNKipLewis), CSNChicago

— Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), CSNChicago