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posted: 10/9/2013 9:14 PM

Bulls in Rio to practice not party

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The Bulls flew 13 hours overnight, arrived in Rio de Janeiro to play the first NBA game in South America, and coach Tom Thibodeau couldn't help but rave about the atmosphere in the practice gym.

Well, it helps to stay focused when trying to keep a visit to one of the world's great vacation destinations a business trip.

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"It reminds me of one of those old-school gyms," Thibodeau told bulls.com. "You can tell there's a lot of history here. It's fun to be here."

The Bulls will spend four days in Brazil before facing the Washington Wizards on Saturday for their third preseason game. Shortly after arriving, the Bulls arrived at the gym for a workout. Technically, this is training camp.

"This is my first time over here," Derrick Rose told reporters. "You hear about how beautiful it is. We haven't had a chance to experience it yet. Right when we got here, we dropped our bags of at the hotel and came right over here. So we really didn't have time to look at the scenery."

Eventually, the Bulls posed for a team photo with Sugarloaf Mountain in the background. Some players tweeted views of the Atlantic Ocean from their hotel windows.

"We're proud to be here," Thibodeau said. "We're excited about the opportunity and we're looking to our four days here."

Added Joakim Noah, "Brazil is one of those places, I've always wanted to come here. The people are just full of energy and the culture's so cool. They've got great food. Just an unbelievable culture, great people. Just to be a part of this, I couldn't be happier."

Noah said the Bulls are planning to attend a soccer game Thursday at 100,000-seat Maracana Stadium.

"That's as big as it gets, in terms of as an athlete, to be able to feel the energy and feel how crazy the fans go for soccer out here," he said. "That's going to be real cool."

The Bulls released Dahntay Jones before leaving Chicago, bringing the numbers of players in camp to 15. Center Dexter Pittman, guard Mike James and power forward D.J. White are vying for one or two spots on the final roster.

Saturday's matchup will be another chance for Derrick Rose to test his surgically-repaired left knee. Noah missed the first two preseason contests with a groin strain, but may play against the Wizards.

"I'm feeling good," Rose said. "The only think I have to do is knock some of the rust off. I'm happy we've got, what -- five, six more preseason games. So I can get used to playing, running around and just get used to the NBA game again."

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