Rose eases himself back into the flow

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Rose eases himself back into the flow

His numbers were modest11 points on 5-for-9 shooting and eight assists in 32 minutes of playbut Derrick Roses return to the court was triumphant. Not just because the Bulls won, but for the first time in a long time, things felt normal again.

It was good, man. Spirits up just being out there, just getting a lot of love from the fans. It brought me up, even times where I felt down, the All-Star point guard said afterwards, as he answered mostly basketball-related questions from the media, instead of the injury inquiries that hes dealt with for the majority of the season. I just love the game, just being on the courtjust being with my teammates, reallyjust being out there, having the ball in my hands, it was an unbelievable feeling.

Roses playing status, in the Bulls third-to-last game of the regular season, leaked shortly before the contest against the visiting defending-champion Mavericks, began, but Rose knew hed play well in advance.

Rose decided hed play in the morning. But you know me, I dont like jinxing myself, he said. When I got here, I got a lot of treatment, went out there, shot a little bit.

Now, Rose still isnt 100 percent and he wasnt his typically explosive self, but some of that was by design and considering the fact that teammates Rip Hamilton and fellow All-Star Luol Deng had it going offensively, his usual exploits werent needed.

Rose felt a little bit of pain, but during the game, I was just trying to pace myself. Tried not to do anything to reinjure it. Trying to take the game easy, but play smart, Rose explained. Throbbing a little bit, but the great thing about it, we got the win. Got a couple days off, get treatment, stay off my feet and hopefully its going to get better, day by day.

Got to the lane a little bit during this game, but my confidence wasnt that high driving the ball and hopefully in the next couple of days, its going to get better and youll see me back to my usual self, driving to the hole, trying to get fouled, putting a lot of pressure on the defense, he continued. My conditioning is great. I wasnt that tired when I was out there. I didnt push the ball like that, so walking the ball up, seeing whos open, throwing the ball up to Lu and Rip so they could bring the ball up, try to attack. It took a lot off me.

I missed a couple shots, missed a couple threes, jumpshots, but shots that I normally hit, shots that I normally take. Lu and Rip played their butts, knocking down shots, playing defense, rebounding the ball and just trying to make it hard on the other team.

Added Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: He looked good, taking everything into consideration. I think he played a very controlled-type game. He was taking care of the ball, running the offense and just trying to get a feel for being out there again. I thought it was a very good first step. Overall, I thought he played very well.

Rose also understands that its a process and he wont play at the MVP level of last season immediately, though hes confident he will continually improve at this late juncture of the season, as the Bulls attempt to clinch the Eastern Conferences top playoff seed and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

When the opportunity comes, I know that Ill be totally healthy. I will, but until then, just try to make the game easy. We were going to do whatever it takes to win this game. Today, it was me passing the ball, getting guys open, putting them in situations where they could make the right play, he said. We still have to win out. The next one after this is Indiana. Were taking it one game at a time, not worried about any other team, just what were trying to here and were trying to win every game.

We want it, but if we dont get it, theres no excuses. We just cant stop playing because we dont get the No. 1 seed. Our biggest concern is trying to win out, taking it game by game. Were not trying to overlook any other team, Rose continued. Were playing against some good teams and towards the end of the season, people are trying to play hard against us, no matter what their record is. Theyre coming out playing hard and theyre NBA teams, so they can beat you any given night.

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose may not be teammates anymore, but that didn't stop them from catching up on the west coast while watching a familiar Chicago team.

The former set of Bulls teammates happened to bump into each other at the Cubs-Dodgers game on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, where they both work out in the offseason.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Bulls fans!]

Rose and Butler likely haven't seen each other since the trade that sent Rose to the New York Knicks over the summer.

Butler shared the picture on his Instagram with Rose and his son P.J., capturing a cool moment after speculation of a reported rift during their time together in Chicago never seemed to go away:

three cats at a cubs and dodgers game.

A photo posted by Jimmy Butler (@jimmybutler) on

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

On Thursday, Dwyane Wade appeared on an ESPN special for The Undefeated to talk about gun violence. The next day, Wade's cousin was shot and killed in Chicago.

Nykea Aldridge was pushing a baby stroller in the Chicago neighborhood of Parkway Gardens when she was shot and killed. Aldridge was 32 and a mother of four.

Police said she was not the intended target and one person was taken into custody as a result of the incident.

Wade's words during his appearance on the ESPN panel took on extra meaning after Friday's shooting.

"It's important for all of us to help each other, to go back and say 'You know what, where did this start, how did this start? Let's see how we can change there,'" Wade said on ESPN. "It's deep-rooted and this is something that didn't start today. This is something that's not going to end tomorrow. But this is something that we can start a conversation, we can start the work today and hopefully eventually we can stop it."

Wade tweeted after the shooting.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.