The highly anticipated showdown between mercurial point guards Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving is finally here. It’s hard to imagine that these two super talented players have yet to face off on the court, but that’s the way injuries tend to rob of us of seeing greatness played out on the field of competition.
“It's another game,” Irving told The Cleveland Plain Dealer on his matchup with Rose. “Always playing any Bulls team, with D-Rose or without him, they're a good team. But now that they have him, they're a threat. Obviously he's a great point guard, a great player in our league and I have a lot of respect for him.”
And the Bulls have a lot of respect for Irving’s abilities on the court.
“Because of the way he can shoot and what he can do in the pick-and-roll and off the dribble, guys like that you have to guard them with your whole team. It’s impossible to guard those guys one-on-one,” Tom Thibodeau said after the Bulls United Center shootaround. “You have to try to make him work as hard as possible for his points. He’s very explosive. The fact he can shoot the way he can puts that much more pressure on you.”
Irving is coming off a 39 point, 12 assist and five rebound night over the Philadelphia 76ers, a game that went into double-overtime before Irving made a game winning drive to the basket with less than a second remaining on the clock. Meanwhile, Rose is still working his way back into the form, as is the entire Bulls starting five.
It’s tough to say if matchups like these will live up to the hype, but it’ll certainly be fun to watch.