Derrick Rose starting to make impact; Team USA routs D.R.
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter September 3, 2014 5:30PM
Dominican Republic's forward Jack Martinez (C) vies with US centre DeMarcus Cousins (R) and guard Derrick Rose (L) during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group C match Dominican Republic vs USA at the Bizkaia Arena in Bilbao on September 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ ANDER GILLENEAANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images
Updated: September 4, 2014 1:55PM
There was a pulse Wednesday.
It was faint early on but pumping with excitement in the third quarter of Team USA’s 106-71 victory against the Dominican Republic.
It took four games in the group phase of the FIBA World Cup, but Bulls guard Derrick Rose finally showed up.
He had a breakaway layup with 2:38 left in the third after racing out in front of a crowd. Then with 45 seconds left in the quarter, Rose snuck behind a ballhandler, ripped the ball from his hands, raced up the court and threw an alley-oop pass to DeMar DeRozan.
It wasn’t the 12-point performance Saturday against Finland, but considering that Rose was playing his fourth game in five days, his all-around game was as good as it has been since the tournament began.
Rose went 2-for-5 from the field and had six points, three assists and two steals, but the big number was the plus-23 in 13-plus minutes.
He had an impact with his presence unlike the previous three games in which he seemed to be along for the ride with Team USA (4-0) in Bilbao, Spain.
Not that there wasn’t a hold-your-breath moment.
On his way to the hoop for that third-quarter layup, Rose seemed to buckle a bit, which threw his timing off and forced him to go with a finger roll rather than a slam.
Rose told reporters afterward that he slipped, and it was no big deal.
In other words, the surgically repaired knees were just fine.
Rose will play his third game in as many nights Thursday, and coach Tom Thibodeau, an assistant for USA Basketball, couldn’t be more excited about the push he’s making this offseason.
“He’ll be fine,’’ Thibodeau told reporters. “He’s working every day. The only way you’re going to shake the rust off is by playing.
“Physically, he feels good. Mentally, he’s good. But he’s got to work on his timing. He hasn’t played in two years, basically. So it doesn’t happen overnight, and he understands that. He’s showing great patience. It’ll come.’’
Rose remains a bench player, but he’s fine working with the second team. That could all change after the game against Ukraine that concludes play in Group C as the U.S. team prepares for the knockout round.
“We want to see different combinations,’’ Thibodeau said. “Each day is a little different. [But] I want [Rose] to just concentrate on his improvement and run the team well. And he’s more than capable of doing that. He’s shaking off some rust, as we anticipated, but he’s capable of playing very well.’’