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Derrick Rose returns, Anthony Davis shines in USA Basketball’s exhibition win over Brazil

Aug 17, 2014, 12:40 AM EDT

Derrick Rose, Anderson Varejao, Raulzinho Neto Derrick Rose, Anderson Varejao, Raulzinho Neto

CHICAGO — Derrick Rose played his first game at the United Center in almost nine months on Saturday, when the USA Basketball team took on the squad from Brazil in an exhibition contest.

Team USA cruised to a 95-78 victory, and while getting the win was nice, the focal point of the evening was Rose’s return, at least initially.

The building was legitimately sold out, and the fans seemed to be there for none other reason than to cheer their hometown hero. But they were also treated to a series of dazzling highlights from his teammates.

Rose did look a bit rusty; whether it was due to the nerves of being back on his home floor for the first time in so long, or simply the excitement brought by his first real competition over that same span, he definitely didn’t dominate the way he’s capable of. He did, however, manage to give the fans what they wanted on two separate occasions.

Even if Rose has changed his game as he recently proclaimed, his signature speed was as prominent as ever. He went the length of the floor in the blink of an eye and finished with a floater off the glass to beat the halftime buzzer, and then midway through the third, he used a devastating crossover that was followed by a hard-charging burst, which allowed him to convert an acrobatic finish at the basket.

Those are the types of plays that we know Rose is capable of, and the other ones, which included a missed breakaway dunk in the second quarter and at least a few errant passes, should become less frequent as time goes on.

“He’s shaking some rust off,” USA Basketball assistant and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. “But his explosiveness was back.”

With the game well out of hand and just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the fans began a loud chant of “We want Rose!” Mike Krzyzewski complied almost immediately, and when Rose bounced up and jogged to the scorers table, the place went nuts.

“I didn’t react to the crowd,” Krzyzewski said with a smile. “I would never do that.”

While all eyes were on Rose in Chicago as expected, Anthony Davis made it impossible not to notice just how dominant he can be against the far less athletic international competition.

Davis flew around the basket for several highlight-worthy slam dunks, and flew into the stands head over heels trying to save a loose ball. He finished with a game-high 20 points, and you can just see how his being on the floor should be a complete game-changer for the USA team once tournament play begins for real in a few short weeks.

“Ant played great man,” Rose said afterward. “That’s what we need — blocking shots, rebounding, diving for the ball out of bounds. We didn’t know how he was going to play with the bigs they have because he’s kind of smaller than they are weight-wise. But he came out here and hooped.”

James Harden finished with 18 points, and his personal highlights included a step-back three off the dribble over a defender, and of course, scoring more than once on slashing drives to the basket. Stephen Curry hit some shots early, the most impressive of which involved some extremely nifty ball-handling to shake his defender before he effortlessly splashed a long three home.

Team USA started a lineup that consisted of Rose, Curry, Davis, Harden and Kenneth Faried, whose activity and effort remained consistent; his chances continue to improve as far as making the final roster. DeMarcus Cousins didn’t play due to injury, and DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond and Gordon Hayward received the always-dreaded DNP-CDs.

Getting the victory was nice, and it was one successful step on this summer’s travels for Team USA. But for Rose, his initial experience returning to his home floor was far more important, and an achievement all by itself — even if he downplayed it after the night was finished.

“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 right now, it feels great. We won the game.”

  1. antistratfordian - Aug 17, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    Anthony Davis is the future.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      The future is NOW Anti…

      Davis had the 4th HIGHEST PER in the league last season.

      His PER was 26.54 and not many players have had a PER that high for one season, even stars in the league.

      Davis had a PER of over 21 in his rookie season at 19 yrs old.

      LBJ’s PER his rookie season was 18.3 and then 25.7 his 2nd season.

      Davis went from 21.4 his rookie season to 26.5 his 2nd season.

      The future is already here with Davis.

      To me, it’s been LBJ and then KD and then Chris Paul as the best players in the league.

      Now, it’s LBJ who is the best, KD is #2 and this coming season Davis will be the 3rd best player in the league.

      Davis is the real deal.

      • blackman24 - Aug 17, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        That PER becomes an empty stat if Davis and the Hornets don’t reach the Playoffs, kind of like Love who was 3rd in PER and it all meant nothing.

      • blackman24 - Aug 17, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        So by your PER logic, does this mean Cousins will be the future and a Top 5 player this year, because his PER jumped from 14 his rookie season to 21 his second, and this last year he was 5th with a blistering 26.18?

      • blackman24 - Aug 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM


      • blackman24 - Aug 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM


      • sportsfan18 - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        One man can’t win alone.

        PER is measured the same way for all players.

        those with a lower PER who win are on better teams with better talent, coaches etc…

        PER isn’t the end all.

        took MJ 7 yrs to win. took LBJ that long too or a yr longer.

        others like Magic came onto a loaded Lakers team with Kareem and others.

        One player and his PER in a vacuum means nothing except for how well he plays the game, not his team.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Anthony Davis’ future is probably as the best player in the league – but there are a few things from preventing him from being that right now. One is a guy like LeBron James, but another is just plain old inexperience.

  2. money2long - Aug 17, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    “Those are the types of plays that we know Rose is capable of”

    Um actually this site is full of doubters. Talked bad about rose for the longest.
    They are slowly starting to quiet their dumb selves the more reports like this surface of rose looking good.
    The people who were quietly ashamed to cheer for rose in fear of ridicule are also now slowly starting to act like they always believed in him. So, no. I do not agree that those are the plays everyone knew he’s capable of becuase many were ready, if not already, burried rose and his career. Becuase in their eyes “his knees are shot”.

    For the record, my faith in rose never wavered. And shoutout to the loyal people.

    • chicitybulls - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      No doubt. What’s fu….what’s messed up is those people are probably just sitting back and waiting/hoping that he gets injured again so they can be “right” instead of appreciating his game.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Haven’t you criticized me for being loyal to LeBron James? And now you want credit for being loyal to Derrick Rose?

      Anyway, I think an issue is that over the last few years Rose has always been reported as looking great in practice or in training camp. Before the start of last season KD was saying that Rose looked even better than he did before. So it’s like the boy who cried wolf – after a while people stop paying attention to the alarms, which is probably why you’re seeing less negative commentary. But if Rose turns an ankle or pulls a hamstring in the regular season… you know, fans can be vicious.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Oh, also if Rose just comes out and plays poorly like he did before… then it’s the same deal.

      • money2long - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Ur criticized for slurping lebron. Big difference. So much so that ur delusional and back up ur over the top delusions with stats. Just look at how insane u looked during the finals. The numbers were stacked against lebron and the heat game after game. Yet u came back after every game saying so more crazy ball slurping things. In the elimination game u saying stuff like this jus sets lebron up for some historic comeback that he will do! Lebron is greater than Jordan and he will show u all ! He will win the rest of the games for the heat and they will be champs !!

      • antistratfordian - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM

        The numbers weren’t stacked against Lebron and the Heat after Game 2. They favored LeBron and the Heat. If Pop didn’t make the switch with Diaw after Game 2 the Spurs probably would’ve lost the series. In other words, the Heat entered the series as the better team and they remained the better team heading to Miami for Game 3.

        The rest of that talk after they were down 3-1 was just regular fan banter. You take it too seriously. But you seem wound up pretty tight regardless.

  3. chitownmatt - Aug 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    He also rimmed out a tomahawk….
    I bet that one is still stinging his ego just a bit. 😉

  4. lacolem1 - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I still don’t know if he’s capable of making those plays over the course of a full season against top-tier NBA competition. How was his jumper? Did he have a step back? A floater? Did he show any improvements on D?

    • chicitybulls - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      lacole, did you watch the game? If so, you’d see he didn’t shoot a jumper this game nor a floater (he did do those the last game though). And if you watched either of the games you’d see how he played D. Pressured the ball coming up the court and in the half court.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        he drove the length of the court and shot a floater off the backboard just before half time.

  5. tigershark0052 - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    I hope derrick rose is back to his old self. So fun to watch.

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