Derrick Rose struggles again as USA defeats New Zealand
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter September 2, 2014 1:02PM
New Zealand's forward Thomas Abercrombie (top) hangs from the basket after scoring beside US guard Derrick Rose (bottom) during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group C match USA vs New Zealand at the Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao on September 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVASRAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Updated: September 2, 2014 8:55PM
Derrick Rose will have a breakout game.
At least that’s the mentality USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has been holding on to since Team USA arrived in Spain last week.
It didn’t come Tuesday against New Zealand, and three games into FIBA World Cup pool play, it still hasn’t appeared.
After hitting his first jumper of the game in the first quarter, Rose finished just 1-for-6 from the field. He also split a pair from the free-throw line, finishing with three points in the 98-71 victory.
Though Rose looked much more engaged than he did in the victory over Turkey on Sunday, he still struggled to score, especially around the rim.
“I think basically we’re waiting for Derrick to have kind of a bust-out game,” Colangelo said on ESPN. “And if that were to happen, I think he’d take off from that point.”
Rose is 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) from the field in the first three games, including 1-for-7 from beyond the three-point line.
But there is good news. Rose continued to be challenged physically, playing his third game in the last four days. He played 16 minutes, 39 seconds and started the second half, which he hadn’t done since the friendly against Brazil in Chicago on Aug. 16.
Though his game still seems to be a work in progress, his plan hasn’t changed.
Before he left for Spain, Rose was adamant that starting or finishing games weren’t as important as winning and getting his “wind back.”
“Just trying to get in better shape, get in better condition, so that when I do need to score the ball, then it’ll be there,” Rose told reporters in Spain. “We have a deep team, and that’s what makes us so good.
“My role is coming off the bench right now. I’m fine with it. I know no second unit can win when I’m on the court or stick me when I’m on the court.”
Not yet, though Turkey made a strong push. Rose and Team USA were outplayed in the second quarter Sunday.
Now comes the real test for Rose and a coaching staff that has to decide on his minutes. Rose has played only 10 regular-season games since the 2012 playoffs and has had two season-ending knee surgeries.
Team USA is playing three games in three days to close out pool play. It faces the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and Ukraine on Thursday. Both games have blowout written all over them. With the medal round approaching, will the coaches pace Rose or even sit him in one of the two games?
Those are decisions that have to be weighed as the team continued to wait for a Rose highlight reel.