Derrick Rose was given a chance to play point guard full-time for Team USA on Sunday and scored his team's final 4 points in an 86-85 win over Spain in Madrid.
Rose gave the U.S. a 2-point lead with 39 seconds left with a left-handed drive into the lane and layup over Marc Gasol.
After a 3-point play by one-time Memphis Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro put Spain up by 1, Rose rocketed down the right side of the lane and was fouled by Gasol. Rose’s 2 free throws with 19 seconds on the clock turned out to be the winning points.
Spain struggled to get a good look on its final possession and Rudy Fernandez’ last-gasp 3-point attempt was blocked by Kevin Durant.
Durant led team USA with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Rose scored 13 points, while Lamar Odom had 12. All of the U.S. starters played relatively heavy minutes, led by Durant with 36, Odom with 33 and Rose at 32 1/2.
Rose played just 11 minutes in a lackluster win over Lithuania on Saturday, but was given a chance to play a major role against Spain by coach Mike Krzyzewski. Rose filled in for usual starter Rajon Rondo, who did not play at all against Spain. Against Lithuania, starting guards Rondo and Chauncey Billups combined for 1 assist and 8 turnovers.
Rose didn’t produce big stats against Spain (3 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers). He had a couple of turnovers in the third quarter, once when he was stripped by Timberwolves draft pick Ricky Rubio and then called for a charge when he barrelled into Fernandez, a potential Bulls trade target.
Rose ignited the Team USA offense, though, with some impressive high-speed runs on the fast break.
The U.S. led nearly the entire game, often by 12 points or more. Spain made a late comeback thanks to some poor defense and questionable shot selection by Team USA.
Andre Iguodala and Lamar Odom tossed up some 3-point bricks, while Billups drove into traffic looking for an NBA-style foul, which didn’t come. On the other end, Rubio and Navarro were left uncovered off foul-line screen and rolls. Spain took its first lead of the game with about a minute remaining,
Team USA has one more warm-up game on Wednesday against Greece in Athens before opening the FIBA World Championships in Turkey on Saturday against Croatia.
CONDOLENCES TO PISTONS FAMILY
My first job out of college many years ago was a front-office internship for the Detroit Pistons. Matt Dobek was new to the role of public relations director when he hired me many years ago, and stayed on the job through the Bad Boys era, the Hard at Work era and this past season.
He and several other long-time Pistons employees were fired in the spring after owner Bill Davidson passed away.
According to multiple reports, Dobek died unexpectedly Saturday at age 51. This is shocking news and my thoughts go out to his family, friends and former co-workers in Auburn Hills.