Though one more pool-play game remains, Team USA ensured it would advance to the round of 16 in the FIBA World Cup with Wednesday’s 106-71 victory over the Dominican Republic in Bilbao, Spain.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who finished the game with six points and three assists in his second set of back-to-back contests — the former league MVP will play three games in as many days after Thursday’s matchup with Ukraine — again came off the bench, entering the affair at the 2:03 mark of the opening period, which concluded with the Americans holding a 25-22 lead.
Team USA broke open the surprisingly competitive contest — an exhibition game against the same Dominican squad, which then had the services of its currently sidelined lone NBA player, Houston Rockets veteran Francisco Garcia, was a blowout — in the second quarter, as Rose remained in the game, notching an assist and a fast-break layup before getting a breather with 7:09 left until halftime.
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While Team USA had a comfortable 56-41 advantage at the intermission, the lead further ballooned late in the third quarter, as the second unit, including Rose — the Chicago native had another transition finish and a steal that turned into an alley-oop assist to Toronto Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan — went on a 22-0 extended run to completely blow open the game.
Rose started the final stanza, coming out with 6:48 remaining, with the game well in hand and thoughts of Thursday’s pool-play finale against the Ukraine, coached by former NBA head coach Mike Fratello, prior to the aforementioned round of 16 beginning in Barcelona over the weekend.