Eastern Notes: Middleton, Babb, Scola

Bucks‘ forward Khris Middleton has made tremendous strides this season, setting himself up for a nice raise this summer when he can become a restricted free agent, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel writes. “Khris is one of the guys who has really improved,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s just letting the game come to him. He’s one of our best scorers and shooters on the floor, and the ball will find him. He’s been able to step up and knock down shots for us. Confidence in this game is big, and I think his confidence is growing.” In 74 appearances this season, including 53 as a starter, Middleton averaged 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 30.1 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Chris Babb‘s two-year minimum salary deal with the Celtics calls for him to make $48K for the remainder of this season and $947,276 for 2015/16, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com tweets. Babb’s contract contains no guaranteed money for next season, Forsberg adds.
  • Forward Jae Crowder has enjoyed his time with the Celtics since coming over from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo trade, Forsberg writes in a separate piece. The 24-year can become a restricted free agent this summer, but Crowder insists that he hasn’t thought about next season, Forsberg adds. “I just want to make the playoffs,” Crowder told the ESPN scribe. “And once you make the playoffs, everything will take care of itself. I’m not worried about it. Because my goal is to make the playoffs and we are right here where we want to be. I’m just focused on that.” Crowder is averaging 9.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists over 24.2 minutes per game in 53 appearances since arriving in Boston.
  • Pacers‘ big man Luis Scola is finally adjusting to his reserve role with the team, and the 34-year-old veteran says he would like to continue playing past the age of 40, Mark Montieth of NBA.com writes. “I don’t feel close to the end, that’s the truth,” said Scola. “I know people don’t play that much longer after 35, but I’m feeling well. I don’t know how fast the process is from the moment you start feeling close to the end versus the actual end. But I’m not feeling close to the end. I’ve got energy and I feel I can still do this and I’m still having fun and I can work out hard and play hard every day. As long as all that’s still there I don’t see me being close to retirement.”
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