Irving excited for first matchup with Rose

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
1:53
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Cleveland Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving is looking forward to facing off Monday night against Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose for the first time in his career.

[+] EnlargeKyrie Irving
Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty ImagesKyrie Irving is excited for his first meeting with Derrick Rose.
"An exciting matchup," Irving said after the Cavs' shootaround Monday. "It is Bulls versus Cavs but it's another chance to go against a great guard in our league. He's established, he's a superstar in our league. It will be a good test, not only for myself, but for our team."

Irving said last season that Rose was one of the players he watched before he came into the league and he is excited to face off against the Bulls' leader. They have yet to play against each other, as both battled various injuries during the past two years.

"He's an established superstar in this league," Irving said. "A former MVP. [I have] nothing but respect for him, but tonight we're going to try and get the win with my teammates."


Rose has struggled in the first five games of the season, turning the ball over 25 times, after missing all of last season while rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery. Irving expects his counterpart to get back into a rhythm soon.

"I know he's an extremely hard worker," Irving said. "I know he's been putting a lot of time in the gym and you know it will pay off. It's the beginning of the season -- his shots will fall, I'm pretty sure. He looks more explosive, as quick as he used to. It will be exciting."

Cavs coach Mike Brown is also looking forward to the matchup.

"Two very good, young, dynamic point guards that have different styles of play but they're both capable of putting their teams on their back and winning a ballgame on both sides of the floor,” Brown said. “That's what's exciting for the fans tonight."

Irving admitted that this would be a measuring-stick game for his team against Rose and the Bulls, and expects Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and his team to trap him whenever they get the chance.

"Against the Bulls, they always make it tough," Irving said. "No matter who they're playing against but especially me. The emphasis is more on my drives and they're more aggressive on their pick-and-rolls so I just got to use my teammates as best I can and try to make plays. Especially getting into the lane -- they like to protect the paint -- we just got to knock down shots."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5