John Wall on first meeting with Derrick Rose: "It's a big game"
When Derrick Rose and John Wall met in the preseason, the two electrifying point guards raced around each other as if they were in stock cars, leaving their college coach John Calipari to ask to most pertinent question about them: "Who's faster?"
Rose went with Wall, adding that the rookie "is going to be a problem in the NBA."
With the last two point guards to go No. 1 overall meeting for the first time in the regular season on Saturday at United Center, Rose is already impressed with how Wall has adjusted to the league. He was asked about Wall's triple double against Houston on Friday and told the Chicago Tribune, "I swear that's something I don't think I'll ever get."
In his third season, Rose is just starting to get points-assists double-doubles down. He has three this season, after only getting six last season. Wall already has four doubles in that variety in his first seven games.
The Bulls easily handled the Wizards in the preseason, 107-96, as Rose had 18 points and five assists and Wall had 11 points and six assists. Afterward, Wall said their battle "will be a great matchup for years to come."
It should at least be a must-see matchup on Saturday, with Wall averaging 18.4 points and 10.3 asssits and Rose averaging 23.6 points and 9.7 assists. Wall and Rose both credit former Wizard Rod Strickland for preparing them for the league, and they clearly benefited from Calipari's dribble-drive offense. They are both incredibly fast, with Wall having the advantage in height and floor vision and Rose the stronger of the two. Rose also looks to score more; he's had two games this season with 27 or more shots.
When asked how he would avoid an individual duel on Saturday, Wall said, "Same thing we did the first time, just run the offense. If I have the opportunity to score or find my teammates, I'll do that. It's a big game. A test for us."
Wall was speaking of the Wizards, but it's a big test for him, as well. In the past three Wizards losses to New York, Cleveland and Charlotte, Wall has either lost or come up with a draw against Raymond Felton, Mo Williams and D.J. Augustin. Although Williams has made been named an all-star, none of those three are in the same class as Rose, who won a gold medal this summer for Team USA.
Rose told ESPNChicago.com that he was ready to prepared to attack Wall to "see where he's at." Rose added, "I've got an old-school mentality where I'm trying to get people to fear me. So every night I'm going to come at you."
A day later, Rose said he wouldn't let the individual battle take away from his focusing on helping the Bulls win their third game in a row. "I'm not too worried about the matchup,'' Rose told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''It's all about winning games, and that's all I'm trying to do right now -- put my team in a position to win every time I step out on the court. Every point guard brings something new. [Wall] brings quickness and strength. [It's] going to be an exciting night.''
| November 13, 2010; 4:12 PM ET
Categories: John Wall
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