Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving finish even as Bulls pull away to beat Cavaliers

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There was plenty of excitement surrounding the first ever matchup between Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving on Monday, but the game itself was largely devoid of any fireworks.

Irving and Rose essentially played to a standstill in a contest that was mostly defense-oriented, and one that the Bulls pulled away to win easily by a final of 96-81.

Rose finished with 16 points on 8-of-21 shooting, to go along with seven assists and zero turnovers in 34 minutes of action. Irving also finished with 16 points, albeit on 5-of-19 shooting to go along with four assists and three turnovers in 41 minutes.

The difference in the play of the two star guards was that Rose was even throughout, while Irving cranked it up late by scoring 12 of his points in the final period to try to bring his team back.

It wasn’t the stars that impacted this game, however. Instead, it was Bulls reserve Mike Dunleavy scoring 10 of his 15 points in the fourth off the bench to help his team seal the victory. With Chicago up three and under five minutes remaining, Dunleavy hit two threes and a couple of free throws, and added a steal and a rebound to help the Bulls close it out.

Andrew Bynum got his first start of the season for the Cavs, and had two solid possessions in the post early on against Joakim Noah that resulted in easy buckets. Bynum finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots in a season high of over 20 minutes of action.

Rose struggled for most of the night offensively, but had a signature burst late that ended in a coast-to-coast drive for a tough layup in transition. His bucket pushed the Bulls lead to seven with just over three and a half minutes remaining, but Rose pulled up with a slight limp following the play and was subbed out for the rest of the game. The word afterward was a hamstring strain that appeared to be minor, but as with everything involving Rose, the injury and the precautions taken because of it moving forward will be heavily scrutinized.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.

Did you see Isaiah Thomas carry in Game 5? ‘No,’ says Fred Hoiberg, who walks off (video)

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Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.

So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.

Jae Crowder leg-locks Robin Lopez (video)

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Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.

Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.

Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.

I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.

PBT Extra: Oklahoma City’s off-season moves have to start with locking up Russell Westbrook

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The narrative for the Oklahoma City Thunder season was summed up in its final game: Russell Westbrook scored 47 points and when he was on the court the Thunder were +12, but he sat 6:08 and the Thunder were -18 in that window. So they lost. There is a lot of work to do to bring in more versatile players and mold this into a team that can play with and around Westbrook.

Before that work can begin, however, the Thunder need to try and lock-up Westbrook with a new contract, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra. Yes, Westbrook signed an extension last summer, but it only runs through 2018. This summer OKC can — and will — offer him a designated player contract, five years and up to possibly $220 million. It could be as much as $80 million more guaranteed than anyone else can offer. It’s hard to imagine Westbrook wouldn’t sign the deal, but if he doesn’t the dynamic changes for OKC.

If he does, they can get on to the business of getting more solid, versatile players like Taj Gibson back on the roster.