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Team USA blows out Dominican Republic, Derrick Rose struggles a bit again

Six points and three assists for D. Rose.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA has clinched Group C with a 106-71 victory over the Dominican Republic Wednesday afternoon. The DR was playing without its star, Francisco Garcia, but still played the U.S. strangely close in the first quarter, trailing by only three. The U.S. broke it open in the second quarter by out-scoring the Dominican Republic by 12, and then turned the game into a Grade A blowout by the third quarter with a 22-0 run. Team USA is now 4-0 with one game remaining left in group play before things start getting serious in the single-elimination knockout stage.

OK, so we only really care about Derrick Rose here, yeah? Well, in a continuation of a trend throughout the tournament, Rose didn't look particularly good. He finished 2-for-5 with six points and three assists in 13 minutes of play. He threw a few more jump passes, didn't seem to be moving very well, had some trouble holding onto the slicker FIBA ball and failed to throw down a (maybe underthrown) alley-oop that would have brought the house down.

There's a longer post to be made of this, but I really don't think Rose's struggles here are too big of a deal. The fact is, the dude hasn't played basketball in a long time. We've seen him move well before, both in the first USA scrimmage and at certain points during his return last season. More than anything, he seems like a guy who can't get his bearings straight. There's only one way that's going to come back to him, and it's through playing ball. That's why this experience is so vital.

Maybe Rose won't be a great player when the season opens, but to me, that's fine. The NBA season is a damn marathon. So long as he's slowly showing improvement throughout the year, and ready to go by, like, March, I'm fine with it. If we've learned anything the last few seasons, it's that regular season victories are a bit overrated for the Bulls. Just get out of there healthy and work out the kinks. No need to lose our minds over every uneven performance.

Here's a sampling of Rose critics on Twitter.

The United States closes out group play Thursday against Ukraine.