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.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.