Despite world travels, Chicago always on Rose's mind

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Despite world travels, Chicago always on Rose's mind

All of the hoopla surrounding the day's festivities were certainly appreciated, but to Derrick Rose, Saturday's launch of his new signature sneaker was more about giving back to his hometown.

"It feels good, man. I'm blessed, very blessed for at least one of you all media to be here. For all of you to come and all these people to come and just follow everything that I've been posting up on Facebook, it's been a blessing to have this outcome," said Rose at the State Street Foot Locker in the Loop. "It's crazy, man. Just coming from here and people knowing you, words can't explain how I feel right now. How emotional this is, just knowing that I'm from here. I've been seeing people I went to school in grammar school, just showing support. It means a lot to me."

During this extended offseason--caused by the ongoing NBA lockout--Rose has spent more time than he planned in his offseason stomping grounds of Los Angeles, allowing him to focus on improving his game, despite no signs of a season on the horizon.

"It's been tough. That's part of the reason I moved out to L.A. You can still hide there, but here or other big cities, you can't hide there," said the reigning league MVP, who also made pointed comments about the work stoppage. "You know me, I try to stay out of the attention, stay out of the media, only for positive things."

But the 23-year-old has also delved into some international travel, taking a trip to the Far East and Spain for adidas.

"All of sudden, I was working out and I just get a call, 'Two days you're going to be in Spain.' I was preparing to go to China, so I'm thinking, 'I've got another week to stay in L.A. and work out,'" he recounted. Went from Spain to Shanghai, Shanghai to Guangzhou, Guangzhou to Beijing, Beijing to Taiwan, then came back to L.A."

In Madrid, Rose filmed a bullfighter-themed commercial for his shoe, the adiZero Rose 2, that gets frequent airtime and has received rave reviews.

"The commercial, wow. It was very hard, knowing that being out there in the sun all day--actually, it took like three days, went to Spain, the experience was great--but I'm just happy that the feedback was great. Everybody loved it and hopefully adidas comes up with some new ideas, so that we'll be out there again, but somewhere else."

Rose also discussed his experiences in Asia.

"It was fun. If anything, I think I've matured as a person, especially just being able to talk to people. I think that helped me out a lot, just being over there, being by myself. Everybody was loving it, just interacting with the kids, the fans," said Rose, whose video featuring him playing with hand puppets went viral. "All of them were something to remember, but the one that really got to me was Taiwan. The fans were really into it, their energy was great. I just loved being over there."

One thing the Bulls point guard doesn't plan to do is participate in any lockout-inspired exhibition games that seem to pop up every week.

"You know I don't like all-star games like that. I don't like pickup games. I think that's where people look at your game," he explained. "I just don't like it, to tell you the truth."

Confirmed his older brother, Reggie Rose, himself a star at Chicago's Hubbard High School: "When he was younger, I never allowed him. So that's something that stuck with up and back then he wasn't making money, so now he's making money. So, the magnitude of him getting hurt, I think it would be a dumb move on his part."

When asked what made the Philippines exhibition different, he quipped, " Well, if you're getting 300,000, that's a great pickup game."

Reggie Rose added that his younger brother would be participating in a charity game with a special cause.

"We're flying back out to L.A. and then we're going to leave on the 23rd for Honolulu or Guam for 'Hoops for Troops,'" he revealed. "Everybody's playing these games for money; we want to play these games to give back to the troops because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't even be able to play these games.

The game will reportedly feature the likes of Portland big man LaMarcus Aldridge, Sacramento scorer Tyreke Evans, Atlanta All-Star Al Horford and Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin, all of whom share Rose's agency, Wasserman Media Group.

For now, however, Rose continues to hone his skills in L.A. and mentioned that he might bring a few new wrinkles to the court when the NBA resumes play.

"Right now, it's posting up. Working up my post game and just sharpening up things, like my shooting, dribbling and all that stuff. I'm just trying to get better as a player, get smarter. I definitely want my basketball I.Q. to get better, but it comes along with just playing the game."

The Englewood native also has an eye toward making the 2012 U.S. Olympic team--conceivably, the next time fans could see their favorite players in organized competition--after excelling on the gold-medal winning FIBA World Championships squad in 2010.

"It would definitely be big, but it's not up to me, it's up to Coach K and the coaching staff to see who they're going to pick for the team. I'd love to be picked for the team, I'd love to be part of the experience, but it's not up to me," Rose confessed.

A burgeoning leader, Rose also has remained in touch with his far-flung teammates throughout the lockout, although various scheduling conflicts have prevented the Bulls from organizing a player-based minicamp, as some other teams have done.

"Joakim Noah is out there in L.A. right now. I worked out with him for two days before I came out here. He's out there focusing, just working out," he said. "Booz Carlos Boozer is in Miami, Lu Luol Deng is back here, Keith's Bogans in Orlando and C.J. Watson is in Vegas right now. So, I talk to them here and there."

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

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Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."