Gibson in elite company in Vegas

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
11:43
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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LAS VEGAS -- Taj Gibson has played for Tom Thibodeau for the past two seasons, so the intensity of his first Team USA practice wasn't a shocker.

[+] EnlargeKobe Bryant
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesTaj Gibson is sure to have his hands full facing off with stars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant in Las Vegas.

The fourth-year forward is in town as part of a young squad put together to help the senior national team prepare for the London Olympics. It's an experience Gibson is enjoying.

"It's not really much of a difference," Gibson said of the practices. "I think it's similar to Thibs' practice, how physical it is. It's real physical, guys are really picking it up. As far as seeing Derrick (Rose) and John (Lucas) and C.J. (Watson), guys pick up full court, it's similar to this. The physicality of it was something, it brought attention to my eyes."

Gibson, who has become one of the Bulls' better defenders, says he enjoyed going up against several stars in Friday's practice.

"Kevin Durant," he said. "I had to guard Melo and Kevin a lot. It was great. It was a great first day. Just got to take it in stride and come back and get better."

The adjustment to the International game is one that Gibson and the Bulls believe will help him in the long run.

"It went great," he said. "We competed. Just getting a feel for the game, the European game, how physical it is. We had to learn the first couple games, but we'll adjust, it was fun."

As for the obligatory update on Derrick Rose's health, Gibson said he believed his friend and teammate was doing fine.

"I haven't really got a chance to talk to Derrick much the last couple weeks because I know he's been traveling around and working on his knee," Gibson said. "But I'm always in contact with the training staff and they say he's doing great. Every time I go in and I see him we talk and I know he's doing good because he's just pushing it to the limit, he's getting his upper body, his whole body is even stronger than it was last time and I look forward to just seeing him playing even better."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.8 3.3 1.7 39.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 10.5
AssistsD. Rose 5.3
StealsJ. Butler 1.7
BlocksP. Gasol 2.5