NEW YORK — Sitting next to the Team USA bench during Wednesday night's exhibition game, Bulls guard Derrick Rose heard fans at Madison Square Garden chant his name several times. He was disappointed he didn't play against the Dominican Republic, but he understood it was best for him to rest from what he described as "body fatigue."
Rose returned to the court Friday night, coming off the bench in a 112-86 exhibition victory over Puerto Rico at the Garden. Rose, who did not speak with reporters after the game, played 13 minutes, 35 seconds and had six points, four assists and two rebounds.
After the game, USA Basketball announced its 12-man roster for the FIBA World Cup, and Rose made the final cut. He and the team leave for Spain on Saturday afternoon.
Bulls coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau said after the game it was not certain Rose would be on the squad. The U.S. faces Finland on Aug. 30 in the tournament opener and plays five games in six days, a potentially grueling schedule for Rose, who underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee in November.
Apparently, though, Rose and Team USA officials believe he can handle the load.
Rose entered with 4:29 remaining in the first quarter and received loud applause from a sellout crowd that included Knicks players Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, golfer Rory McIlroy, tennis player Andy Murray and, naturally, Spike Lee.
On Rose's first offensive possession, he drove into the lane and passed to James Harden, who missed an open 3-pointer from the right wing. The next time down the floor, Timberwolves guard and Puerto Rico starter Jose Juan Barea fouled Rose on a baseline jumper. He made the first free throw and missed the second.
"I thought he showed a lot of patience," Thibodeau said. "He got into a good rhythm. He made a lot of good plays. It was good to see him play like that."
Rose made 2 of 3 from the field, connecting on a contested 3-pointer late in the first quarter and driving unobstructed from half-court for a fancy left-handed layup to start the fourth quarter. He also found Klay Thompson and Chandler Parsons for jumpers and Thompson and Rudy Gay for 3s.
"I love being on the floor with him," said starting center and Chicago native Anthony Davis, who had 10 points and five rebounds. "He creates open shots for other players with his driving ability. Here, he's looking to pass. He's not really looking to score, so that's big for him."
Rose, who matched up on defense against Barea and former NBA guard Carlos Arroyo, exited with 7:55 left. Thibodeau was pleased with Rose's performance, particularly after he missed practice Monday and Tuesday and the exhibition Wednesday.
"It's sort of what we were anticipating," Thibodeau said. "He had a good day (Thursday) in practice. It's just the next step.
"He's feeling pretty good. We just want to keep building, just daily improvement. That's what he's concentrating on. He feels very comfortable out there. He's not forcing things, which is important."