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Bulls guard Derrick Rose hits his mark in pregame shootaround

Updated: February 27, 2013 12:38PM



Derrick Rose was alone at one end of the court two and a half hours before the Bulls’ game Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, practicing running one-handed shots at half speed.

He missed three consecutive three-pointers before a rebounder joined him and he began to get in rhythm. He made 18 of 25 from behind the arc and was working up a sweat when two cameramen and a print reporter with a cell phone began filming him.

That’s when he took off for the opposite end of the court and disappeared down a tunnel.

The story of Rose’s return seemingly has gone off the script in recent days. First it was Rose giving an exclusive interview to USA Today instead of those who report on him daily. Then his brother Reggie criticized the organization for not surrounding Rose with more talent.

Then a video of him dunking at half speed before a loss in Oklahoma City was played again and again on local and national TV, even though he has been doing that for weeks.

Meanwhile, there is talk about the pressure that will be on Rose when he returns. How can there not be after the Bulls’ 101-98 loss to the Cavaliers at the United Center, their eighth in 11 games?

“It’s going to be a hard road,” veteran Rip Hamilton said. “It’s not going to be easy. With Derrick here, it would be a whole lot easier, but he’s not here.”

Joakim Noah talked about the physical and mental grind of the season taking a toll on a Bulls team that appears drained.

Later, when asked if waiting for Rose to return from knee surgery contributes to the grind, Noah conceded it does.

“It’s all part of it,” Noah said. “I’m not denying anything. All of this takes a toll on you, but at the end of the day, you still have to find ways. We’re more than capable. It’s on us to be mentally tough. Obviously, there’s been adversity. There’s been adversity from the beginning just with the guys who are playing now. But we know we’re capable of better.”



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