With the Chicago Bulls still without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich against the Utah Jazz on Friday, it was Marco Belinelli, not Nate Robinson, running the show over the last five minutes of the game. This is because Robinson had played all but two minutes of the game, and Robinson can also be careless with his shots, as evidenced by when earlier in the quarter Robinson took a fade away air-ball jumper, with plenty of time on the shot clock, and it led to an easy two for the Jazz the other way in the fast break.
In the last five or so minutes of play, a clearly ailing Belinelli ran a two-man game with Carlos Boozer, and the Bulls ran their best offense of the second half.
The Bulls success on the play started with Belinelli dishing to Boozer for a layup to get the game within two at 81-79. The next time down Belinelli found Boozer inside on a post up, where he missed and got a technical foul, but the free throw was missed by Randy Foye. Adjusting to the last times the Bulls ran the two-man game, the Jazz sagged off of Boozer and he got a jump shot from the free throw line to bring the game back within two. In the next series the Belinelli gets fouled on the double, and the Bulls weren’t in the bonus yet, so the Bulls run the two-man game again and on the double team, Belinelli finds Boozer for a lay-up that ties the game at 83. Chicago then took the lead when Boozer got fouled at the free throw line by an overly aggressive Paul Millsap and he made one of two from the line, and Luol Deng got the miss and Belinelli got an open three off the pick and roll, which he missed. The next time down the Bulls took an 86-83 lead when Boozer made both free throws after getting fouled on the catch at the free throw line. Chicago would run the pick and roll once more before the Jazz started fouling the Bulls, the result of the play was Belinelli finding Boozer for a baseline 15 foot jump shot after the initial pass was knocked away.
Against the Jazz, Marco Belinelli’s effectiveness was reaffirmed even though he was questionable to play. When Derrick Rose returns from his ACL injury, Belinelli is one of the few Bulls’ that can play better. His ability to shoot the three will help Chicago a lot, and he will get a lot more open shots because Rose’s driving ability, and Chicago’s big men will leave fewer defenders on the perimeter. Although, Chicago has a multitude of point guards that will be taking up the ball handling minutes, and will likely play two at a time in games, especially late in games with Kirk Hinrich’s great on ball defense, Belinelli has proven that he can handle the basketball, and get to the basket and create some shots for himself. All and all, Marco Belinelli has proved a valuable asset for Chicago and has earned some quality minutes, especially late in the game.