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.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.