By Kent Wolgamott
Special contributor to CSNChicago.com
LINCOLN, Neb. - Nikola Mirotic likely spoke for the entire Bulls team on Friday, happy that Derrick Rose made his first appearance of the preseason in a 103-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks, a successful appearance by all accounts.
"It’s a great feeling for him to be back,” Mirotic said. “Now we have to enjoy playing with him. He came back really well today.
“It’s not easy for him to be back now, first game after surgery. We need to give him time. When he’s on the court, we need to play our best basketball. He opens the floor for us, gives us easy baskets.”
Pau Gasol, who was on the court for most of the 10 minutes Rose played in Friday's 103-102 win over Dallas Friday, said the point guard did well in his first game playing in coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
“The minutes he played I think he was very effective,” Gasol said. “He was aggressive. He took advantage of our pace and our spacing out there to attack. I think he did real well.”
Both Rose and Gasol said the fast-paced, free-wheeling offense is well suited to the Bulls.
“I think it gives us a lot of flexibility out there, a lot of freedom to play,” Gasol said. “I think it fits very well with our personnel.”
Rose talked a lot about the multiple opportunities the new offense provides, but said he still hasn’t fully gotten used to it.
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“With this offense, there’s a lot of openings and gaps,” Rose said. “With the way we shoot the ball and the freedom we have to shoot the ball, it’s like you can help off anyone. We’re trying to play off match ups We need to do that a little more...It’s all reading the game.
“There are so many opportunities to drive, so many opportunities to shoot my midrange, even in transition. It’s open. I’ve just got to get used to playing this way. I know that might sound crazy, but playing in a system for three or four years kind of got me out of my rhythm.”
After nine preseason games, Gasol believes the Bulls are ready to start the season, particularly with the return of Rose.
“We’re in as a good a place as we can be right now,” Gasol said. “ It’s never going to be ideal for the most part. But we understand that now the real season starts. The games count now. We want to start it off well against Cleveland and keep going from there.”