Kyrie Irving is in his third NBA season; Derrick Rose is in his fifth.
However, the two leading faces of a generation of young, star point guards have never faced off — until tonight.
Blame injuries. Last season Rose was out all year. In Irving’s rookie year he missed 15 games and Rose missed 27 so it worked out they never crossed paths.
Monday the two best young point guards in the game will go at each other for the first time in Chicago. And we mean first time — they never faced off in college, high school or AAU either. Rose talked about it with Steve Aschburner from NBA.com’s Hangtime Blog.
“I’ve never played against him,” Rose said, and he meant never – not in AAU, not in high school, not in international competition.
“He’s a great young player,” Rose said. “Just for me, I try not to get into matchups. Just go out there and just play. If we was winning, I’d probably get into it. But we’re just trying to win games right now.”
These are two dynamic, explosive players but guys both still trying to find their footing on the young season.
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The Bulls are off to a rough 2-3 start, with Rose showing a lot of rust after his season off shooting just 32 percent. Their vaunted defense has not been consistent either. Both will come around but there is an early sense of impatience around the Bulls based on the wait for Rose to return plus the fact division rival Indiana already has a four game lead over them.
The Cavaliers are 3-4 on the season and while Irving is averaging 19.9 points a game his efficiency has taken a dip early in the season as he is shooting just 39.3 percent. He hit the game-winning layup in double overtime to lead the Cavaliers past the 76ers (after having missed one in regulation and the first overtime to end the games then).
Two young guards trying to get right this season and start leading their teams where they want to go.
It just might be hard to get off on that foot going against each other.