Basketball / Sports

Rose's conditioning continues to improve for Team USA

Derrick Rose and USA Basketball traveled to New York on Sunday, setting up their base for a week of preparation that includes two more exhibition games in advance of the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Rose did know and mention that travel itinerary, no small detail for a player who claimed last week not to know the Bulls opened against the Knicks and Cavaliers and that he played the entire third quarter of Saturday's exhibition victory over Brazil at the United Center.

Whether such moments were focus or feigned ignorance matters not. What matters moving forward is that Rose, a surefire starter for Team USA, continues to stay healthy, build his conditioning and hit the ground running come the Bulls' training camp in October.

"It's piling up, but I'm used to it by now," Rose said of Team USA's schedule. "I think I'm a pro. I'm learning how to take care of my body a little more, preparing myself and trying to really eat right and get rest, get off my feet.

"It's a process. I'm building it every day. Of course (my wind) is the last thing I'm waiting on. Playing against players like we just played against will help me get my wind back even quicker. Just keep going hard in practice and pushing myself every day so it comes a little bit faster."

Rose logged 24 minutes, 11 seconds overall, also logging the final 5:20 of the fourth after the sellout United Center crowd of 21,309 chanted his name until coach Mike Krzyzewski re-inserted him.

Rose attempted just five shots, the fewest of the starters.

"For me individually, it's playing under control and shooting the right shots," he said. "It's no need for me to force any shots with all the offensive threats that we have.

"I think defensively, we really get into people. The group that really changed the game toward the end, they really got into people and got turnovers. We're dangerous in the open court because of all the shooting that we have and all the scoring that we have. So challenging teams defensively is our biggest challenge."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, serving as Krzyzewski's assistant, again liked the pace at which Rose played Saturday.

"I love the way he's playing," Thibodeau said. "He's finding the rhythm of his game, and he's playing to his strengths. He's recognizing who's on the floor with him and what their strengths are. He made several good plays, particularly against the zone in the fourth quarter. He showed great patience.

"He's still shaking some rust off, but his explosiveness is back. He's playing well on both sides of the ball. I think he's in a really good place. I think he has prepared himself extremely well. It's unfortunate what he's gone through, but that adversity has made him a lot stronger, and I see a growth for him. I love where he is mentally and physically."

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