ST. LOUIS -- While Derrick Rose gets back to form on the basketball court, his teammates are busy adjusting to playing alongside their leader again.
It's kind of like riding a bike for the Bulls' veterans, assuming that bike travels at the speed of a Maserati.
Rose scored 13 points Monday in a 106-87 exhibition win over the Grizzlies, playing his allotted 23 minutes.
He went 3-for-8 from the field and 6-for-10 from the free-throw line after starting 1-for-5.
"He calmed himself down a little bit after he missed the first couple (free throws), and then he started making," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You could tell he had a good rhythm going in the third quarter. He's feeling great and you're seeing those explosions to the basket, the burst of speed, attacking. He's finding his rhythm, and it's also the rest of the team getting used to the speed he's playing at."
The Bulls trailed by one at the half before pulling away in the third quarter. They improved to 2-0 before traveling to Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday for Saturday's game against the Wizards.
Rose said because the veterans were apart all summer, this trip should be therapeutic.
"We always travel (in the summer), try to explore the world," he said. "I think this trip is going to help us come together and bond as a team."
Will it be hard to work with all the distractions?
"What's the distractions down there?" Rose said with a laugh. "What'd you hear, man? No, we're all professionals. If anything we're going to enjoy the trip. We know this is a business trip and this is really our time to come together."
The Grizzlies provided Rose with a perfect challenge as he faced lightning-quick point guard Mike Conley and a juiced-up attack under new coach David Joerger.
Rose played three segments, as scheduled, including one in the second quarter with Mike Dunleavy and rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy.
"I've played with Monta Ellis and he's pretty fast, but man, with Derrick, it's a whole different gear," Dunleavy said. "The other night I was watching him in a game and he made a couple bursts, and I thought 'I don't remember him being that fast.' "
Adjusting to Rose's game is going to take a while, even for the veterans who have played alongside him for a few years.
"Derrick is a special player," said Joakim Noah, who again sat with a mild groin injury. "He plays at a pace that nobody can relate to that speed, that quickness, so it's on us to adjust. ... That's the biggest strength of our team. We have to get in better condition and just get used to playing with him, because that's our joker."
Rose scored five points in the first half, badly clanking his first free throw.
"I think the first half was kind of jittery, missed a lot of free throws. ... But that's usually something that can be fixed," Rose said. "The second half I felt much (more) relaxed. Just trying to get my rhythm back, my timing back, running the game, running the show and really trying to control the game."
Rose's three field goals were a putback of his own rebound, a driving layup and his first 3-pointer. Rose believes the new read-and-react scheme Thibodeau has installed will lead to increased scoring for the Bulls.
"For sure," he said. "With the weapons we have and the personnel on this team, we have guys that have been in the gym almost the whole summer, if not the entire summer, and dedicating their summers to improving this team."
It's only two games, but Rose is off to an impressive start in his comeback,
"It's great to see him back because he loves the game and he's enjoying himself," Dunleavy said. "For someone like myself who hasn't played with him before, I'm just trying to figure out what he likes to do on the court, getting used to his speed and trying to keep up with him."
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services