CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16: Derrick Rose #6 of the USA Basketball Men's National Team is guarded by Raul Neto #5 of the Brazil Basketball Men's National Team on August 16, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Updated: September 18, 2014 6:50AM
Missed two-handed breakaway dunks can be forgiven.
On Saturday, any Derrick Rose misstep was tolerated.
Rose was back at the United Center with Team USA, and that was the only thing that mattered to the hometown fans.
What he did or didn’t do against Brazil in Team USA’s 95-78 victory was mostly irrelevant.
Rose, who had seven points, had to move from the middle of the introduction line to the end so that he could be announced last amid a thunderous standing ovation. Then Rose came to halfcourt to thank the fans and use the exhibition as a platform to speak out against the violence in his city.
It’s a message he has been preaching since Team USA arrived in Chicago on Thursday for two days of practice as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup in Spain, which begins Aug. 30.
“It means a lot,’’ Rose said of his recent candor on the subject. “I know that it’s basketball, but what’s going on here is bigger than basketball and bigger than one person trying to do something. It’s messed up because it’s kind of like a system. But the only way we can change it is if all of us change it and people change their mindsets and try to keep busy. They got too much time on their hands.’’
The fans had to remain patient to see vintage Rose highlights, but the wait paid off.
In his first five-minute stint, Rose went scoreless. He finally got on the scoreboard when he drew a foul on Raul Togni Neto and split two from the free-throw line. A few minutes later, Rose appeared headed for a spectacular highlight on a breakaway layup, but he threw the two-handed dunk too hard off the back of the rim, and it kicked out for a bad miss.
“That’s my second missed dunk,’’ Rose said, laughing. “I missed one in practice.’’
Redemption came with 4.6 seconds left in the half. Rose raced down the court and banked in a one-handed floater at the horn to give Team USA a 45-37 lead.
Then Rose put on some video-game moves in the third quarter, using a crossover to slice through the entire defense for a left-handed finish at the rim.
Anthony Davis, Chicago’s other hometown kid, finished with a game-high 20 points. But, more important, Rose finished healthy and happy with where he’s at.
“Derrick has been magnificent since we started training camp,’’ Team USA coach Mike Krzyzew-ski said. “And he’s really one of the greatest guys in the whole world. I’m ecstatic for him. His [basket] at the end of the half really gave us some momentum, and we started the second half that way, too.’’
Rose was more focused on the bigger picture.
“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,’’ Rose said. “If this was a couple of weeks ago, I probably would’ve been emotional. But it feels great. We won the game. That’s the only thing I could be happy about.’’