Overdue Irving-Rose Clash Finally On

VIDEO: Bulls.com previews the Cavaliers-Bulls showdown

CHICAGO – In a league built on pivotal individual matchups, this one so far has slipped through the cracks. Or the fractures, tears, sprains, spasms or other injuries:

Derrick Rose vs. Kyrie Irving.

For one reason or another, what ought to be one of the Central Division’s showcase showdowns three or four times each season has yet to occur even once. Rose, the Chicago Bulls’ MVP point guard, and Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ All-Star-and-rising, might wind up sharing point guard duties for the Eastern Conference and Team USA for years to come. And of course, butting heads the rest of the time.

Yet more than two years into Irving’s professional career, they’ve yet to share a court as friends or foes. Finally, in Rose’s 314th game (regular season or playoff) and Irving’s 118th, that should happen Monday night at United Center (8 ET, League Pass).

Unless somebody pulls something at his morning shootaround.

“I’ve never played against him,” Rose said, and he meant never – not in AAU, not in high school, not in international competition.

Their 31-month difference in age – Rose turned 25 last month, Irving will be 22 in March – kept them apart until the Cavaliers’ guard reached the NBA in the post-lockout 2011-12 season. And assorted ailments have come between them since.

What would have been the first meeting in Jan. 2012 was thwarted by Rose’s sprained toe. Irving came away sick from All-Star Saturday and missed the second, and then both point guards missed the April 26 finale, Irving shut down and Rose prepping for the playoffs.

Two days later, Rose’s 2012-13 season effectively ended as well with his torn left ACL injury in the postseason opener against Philadelphia. But Irving only played in two of four games vs. Chicago as it was, missing one in December with a fractured left index finger and another in February with a sore knee.

So the bottom line: Rose has played in just one of seven possible meetings and Irving in three of seven.

Any sense of a rivalry, or a challenge from Irving to Rose, only begins now. Whether they acknowledge it or not.

“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.”

The Bulls are 2-3, they’ve had their issues at both ends of the floor, Rose still is trying to sync up with teammates after an absence of 18 months and an easy victory over Utah hasn’t cured all of Chicago’s ills. Rose has been getting choked off by a gauntlet of double teams and traps to get the ball out of his hands, and is averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 assists and 5.0 turnovers in 31.0 minutes while shooting 32 percent.

Said Irving of Monday’s clash: “Another game. 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.’

Still, the Cavs guard added: “I get up for everybody. So it really doesn’t matter.”

Tell it to the 76ers. Cleveland was on the verge of falling to 2-5 until Irving’s driving layup with 0.6 seconds in the second overtime kept his team unbeaten at home. After missing shots to win in regulation and in the first overtime, Irving finished with 39 points and 12 assists.

It was the sort of performance, and closer’s role, that Rose began stringing together en route to the MVP award in his third season. Irving is averaging 19.9 points, 8.0 assists, 3.0 turnovers on 35.1 minutes.

“That’s the position we want him to be in,” Cavs guard Jarrett Jack told Cleveland reporters. “He’s proven himself as being able to come through in those clutch moments. Even though he missed a couple easy ones, or ones he thought he should have made, everybody was still very much encouraging him and telling him that we’re still here with you and ‘Let’s get out here, if you get another look, take it. Don’t be bashful, don’t be shy.’ ”

Who among these guys is? Irving played nearly 82 minutes in Cleveland’s back-to-back set vs. Philadelphia Friday and Saturday, but likely will rise to the occasion in facing Rose. It’s a gunslinger thing with which the Bulls guard is familiar.

“Almost every night,” he said. “Every guy I play, everybody’s doing that.”

Rose is speaking from experience. Only a few years ago, he was the one eager to make his name.

“Hell yeah. I know the concept of how they’re thinking,” Rose said. “But I can’t get caught up into it. When you get caught up into it, that’s when things go the other way.

“Like I say, if we were winning, I’d probably be into it. But we’re losing right now. I can’t get caught up into the matchups. I have to stay focused on the team.”

Fine. The rest of us can focus on the two of them.

VIDEO: Kyrie Irving drops 39 points and 12 assists in the Cavs’ win over Philly


  1. lol says:

    Why all the fuzz, they r both mediocre, sure they got athleticism and their young but they aint nothing special, nothing special on defence or on offence, big deal.

  2. standard says:

    it’s about buckets!

  3. Mark says:

    Why would you guys not televise this?

  4. Darweezzy says:

    Kyrie is going to cross D. Rose Up! cant wait!

  5. KD=westbrook=championship14 says:

    calm down Wisdom0054 I knew a rose fan was gonna get offended 2 tell me something trivial as Oh u don’t know how 2 spell jus getting a point across and sorry rose return is not wat u was anticipatin it 2 B and if Kyrie don’t do the Job Westbrook will take care of him Dec.19!

  6. Robert says:

    Superstars in the NBA seem to underrate Kyrie Irving. The guy has so much skill its a little insane !http://icatchingsports.com/videogallery/kyrie-irving-great-steal-and-layup/

  7. Let’s the game begin , all ayes on Mr Irving

  8. Neither guards will accomplish anythng anyway cause Lebron is in the league, rose didn’t even deserve that MVP everyone just hated Lebron because of the “desicion” and Lebrons numbers were better than everyone in the league that year.

  9. tv63 says:

    I doubt Kyrie will put up 39 points tonight. He rarely does this on the very next game. Cavs are scattered on defense. Their (FG) % is atrocious especially Waiters. Brown hasn’t really had an offensive practice they desperately need so Bulls absolutely have the advantage tonight. Still would love to see a stellar performance out of Irving tonight. Hope it’s a close game and not a blowout!

  10. tv63 says:

    I doubt Kyrie will put up 39 points in this game. He often does not do that the very next game. Cavs are just scattered on their roles on defense. And the (FG) is atrocious especially for Waiters. And don’t get me started on the free throws…. Bulls definitely have the advantage on their side. BUt I would love to see a stellar performance out of Irving tonight!

  11. Kyrie Irving gonna put D-Rose on skates watch and see cant wait to see this game tonight gonna be a good one

  12. I got nothing but love for D. Rose, but he’s playing scared right now. Two seasons ago, D. Rose wins this game and outplays Kyrie simultaneously.

  13. retired nab player says:

    derrick rose is great but don’t think he is fully recovered to chase kyrie around the court 48 minutes

  14. wukong says:

    u guys forgotten ” CP3″ !

  15. KD=westbrook=championship14 says:

    Kyrie gonna eat that young blood alive probably gonna have 2 go through another ACL injury wen kyrie done wit him rose betta not guard him if he don’t wanna get cross again like he did by Norris cole Young Blood LOL!

  16. Sorry Rose says:

    I got nothing but love for D. Rose, but he’s playing scared right now. Two seasons ago, D. Rose wins this game and outplays Kyrie simultaneously.

    Unfortunately, right now Rose’s touch around the basket is still a little shaky, and his handles are a little rusty. I think he will be better than he ever was come February, but right now, Kyrie is going to eat that boy alive.

  17. Rhedz says:

    I do like rose, his good, his humble and his work ethics really really inspiring. Irving on the other hand is the younger one, who has yet to prove himself, a very skillfull player, talented and unique. Both plays similarly in offense, so i guess it will be down to defense. Who plays better defense gets the WIN…Refering to this 2 matching up. Irving, rose, rondo, rubio, wall, holiday, lin, lillard are the only few who will be the elites in the near future. They will be replacing the greats 20 years from now…nash, parker, paul, williams, kidd, stockton, kerr, web, fisher and so on.

    The dawn of the new era is near…

    • bullsfan0218 says:

      I don’t think Jeremy Lin is ever going to be an elite point guard. Hes starting to settle in as the kind of player hes going to be and that’s just a solid NBA point guard or even a 6th man, no better than Calderon or Steve Blake

  18. Rose all Day says:

    Derrick Rose is the player that most double team defense has in this season

    – But in Cleveland thy won’t do that because Kyrie Irving is there

    And that will be a big mistake

    Kyrie is a great Point guard but Rose is just a Beast. If 2 or 3 players don’t guard him it will be easy baskets for Rose

  19. Rose = Overrated says:

    People actually think Rose is still top 5 PG is a joke beyond belief

    • R-Dawg says:

      What point guards are better? He is out one full season and all of a sudden he isn’t an elite point guard anymore? The Guy won the MVP award at 22 years old and is only 25. Do you even watch basketball. You are a clown.

      • 0_o? says:

        R-Dawg you idiot! here is the list:

        1. CP3
        2. Rondo
        3. Kyrie
        4. Parker
        5. Steph Curry

        ^in any particular order..

        then you still have D-wil, John Wall, Conley and Rubio..DRose is back, but not his MVP type game. but he will get there. just not now.

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        @ 0_o?

        That list is 100% accurate. #6 on the list would be Westbrook.

        Rose claims he is the best player in the league … HAHAH what a joke, Rose is not even the best PG in the league.

  20. cb -zizjag2 says:

    I think the bulls going to win this game. All that matters is the W. While the sport reporters are dealing with match up. The basket ball league is dealing with team plays. The league more complex and talented. There to many young players with lots of energy, that any team can beaten on given night. For the older basket ball player is the mind games and fundamentals. Derrick Rose understands what matters most and that is winning. They know that the pacers are going to run out of gas soon and there balls would not falling to hard. The bulls are going to figure out the teams, after all they have one of greatest coaches in basket ball and that is Thi.

  21. Edub says:

    Hooper, you just contradicted yourself in the same comment. You claim you will not be a bandwagon fan but just now annoucing they are your 2 team. I’m sure you weren’t saying this before the season, or wasn’t a fan last year. BANDWAGON.

  22. Edub says:

    Before this article, no one except for maybe Bulls fans and Cavs fans realized that Rose and Irving never played against each other.

  23. roshe says:

    Just epic.

  24. Hooper says:

    This will be a great offensive matchup…. maybe in a few years kyrie can get his defense to an elite level and really be able to challenge rose for that number one pg spot……..
    #in a completely unrelated note the pacers look awesome and if Miami doesn’t win the finals they are , they’re my 2 team , you heard it here first from Chicagos very own hoopstar so come late June and maybe pacers (or miami) get that ring i for one will not be a bandwagon fan

  25. kayebop says:

    can’t wait.

  26. Jimmy Buckets says:

    rose>>>>>>>>>>>kyrie …its 10000x more skill