CHICAGO — Derrick Rose heard the cheers and showed some of his old explosiveness, fellow Chicago product Anthony Davis scored 20 points, and the U.S. beat Brazil 95-78 on Saturday night in a tuneup for the World Cup of Basketball.
With fans roaring for Rose all night, the Chicago Bulls point guard flashed some of his MVP moves. He also seemed happy to defer to his teammates in his first appearance at the United Center since his latest season-ending knee injury, finishing with seven points.
Davis, who like Rose grew up on Chicago’s South Side, dominated down the stretch, and the U.S. pulled away after Brazil kept it close for three quarters.
With a five-point lead going into the fourth, the U.S. went on a 14-2 run to break open a 68-63 game.
Klay Thompson nailed a 3 to start it, and Davis took over.
He hit two free throws and blocked a shot by Larry Taylor, leading to a three-point play for James Harden.
Davis then threw down an alley-oop dunk to make it a 15-point game, and after Leandro Barbosa scored for Brazil, he nailed a jumper. Harden (17 points) finished the run with two free throws, making it 82-65.
Tiago Splitter scored 16 for Brazil.
Fans started chanting, “We want Rose!” with their favorite player watching from the sideline as the U.S. pulled away. They got their wish when he checked back in with 5:20 left and let out yet another loud roar.
That’s how it was all night for Rose.
Fans showed up in Bulls No. 1 jerseys — he’s No. 6 for the U.S. They gave him a deafening ovation and chanted “MVP! MVP!” during the introductions and went wild again as he grabbed the microphone for a heartfelt address to the crowd before the opening tip. He referenced the violence in Chicago and said this game was “huge for the city.”
The U.S. might not have as much star power as it has in the past, particularly with MVP Kevin Durant and others withdrawing and Paul George suffering a gruesome leg injury. Even so, the U.S. was looking good with a 29-15 lead through the first quarter.
Davis wowed the crowd with some hard dunks while scoring eight in the opening period. Stephen Curry hit all three of his shots and had seven in the quarter.
Rose really didn’t go hard to the rim until early in the second, when he beat Raul Neto with a crossover and got fouled. He made 1 of 2 free throws as the crowd chanted “MVP! MVP!” Moments later, he blew a wide-open tomahawk dunk, sending a groan through the arena, and he also headed to the locker room with a cut near his left eye with about 5 ½ minutes left in the half.
Brazil, meanwhile got within 35-33 on a basket by Splitter with 4:27 left. But the U.S. led 45-37 at the half after Rose raced up the court for a floater at the buzzer to the crowd’s delight after two free throws by Nene.
Rose had them roaring again when he beat Neto and switched to his left hand in midair on a drive with just over 3:30 left in the third, making it 64-53.