Derrick Rose plays poorly in Team USA victory over Slovenia

Written By BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter Posted: 08/26/2014, 10:10am

Mike Krzyzewski is done asking Derrick Rose how he feels.

The Team USA coach made that very evident on Monday evening, leading into his team’s final exhibition game over Slovenia on Tuesday, winning the friendly 101-71 at the Gran Canaria Arena.

“I asked [Rose on Monday], and he said, ‘I feel great,’” Krzyzewski told reporters. “He did everything. He’s full go. I think there’s a part of him that’s like: ‘Quit asking me how I feel. I’m good.’ So I’m not going to ask him anymore.’’

Hopefully someone has to, because while the actual FIBA World Cup tournament play doesn’t start until Saturday, Rose continued to look like a guy whose game never made it through customs.

Coming off the bench behind Kyrie Irving for a second-consecutive contest, Rose looked unsure with the ball, evident with three turnovers in his 20 minutes of work, hit on a pedestrian 3-for-6 from the free-throw line, missed an uncontested layup, and seemed to be very passive on offense (0-for-3) and inconsistent on defense (-4 in the plus/minus category).

Not the player that first showed up to Las Vegas for Team USA last month, wowing teammates and coaches with his activity both with the ball and guarding it.

But there is a free pass in all of this for now.

Rose did miss two days of practice and an exhibition game in New York battling with fatigue last week, and of course there’s always the elephant in the room of playing just 10 regular-season games since the 2012 playoffs because of season-ending surgeries to both knees.

Not that Rose minds being a decoy rather than a highlight film. He’s preached that mentality since checking into USA Basketball.

“For me individually, it’s playing under control and shooting the right shots,’’ Rose said recently. “It’s no need for me to force any shots with all the offensive threats that we have on our team. I don’t have to shoot, not one shot. But just being prepared to shoot those shots whenever I have the opportunity.’’

The important news for Rose is that he seemingly came out of the game healthy.

With three days to practice and rest for a stretch of five games in six days, Team USA’s coaching staff will have to keep a close eye on Rose, making sure that the rust is indeed coming off and there are no concerns with setbacks for the 2011 NBA MVP.

That’s where Bulls coach, and USA assistant coach, Tom Thibodeau comes in.

“You’re going day by day,” Thibodeau said of Rose’s workload once the preliminary games begin. “We knew that going in. … It is a progression. [Rose] has gotten a lot better. The main thing is shaking the rust off. He will continue to build. If he needs a day off, he will get a day off. He says he feels great.’’

Meanwhile, rust remained the furthest thing from Chicago’s own Anthony Davis’ mind, as the big man again dominated in the win, scoring a team-high 18 points, as well as grabbing nine rebounds and blocking five shots.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

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