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.