Central Notes: Pacers, Scola, Blatt

The Cavs are up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals and that’s thanks in no small part to their defense, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports writes.  The Cavs lead the playoffs in points allowed per 100 possessions (98.1), points allowed (91.4), and blocked shots (7.0 per game).

We understand that ultimately, if we want to win long term, we have to defend. It’s going to give us the best possible chance to win because the ball doesn’t go through the rim all the time, and you have to be able to get stops,” LeBron James said.

Here’s more from the Central Division..

  • There’s mutual interest between Pacers president Larry Bird and veteran Luis Scola in a new deal, Scott Agness of VigilantSports.com tweets. “[There’s] this huge gap that we got to fill. We’ll see how it goes,” Scola said.  Scola, 35, averaged 9.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 20.5 minutes per contest last season.  Bird made it known back in April that he hopes to retain the forward.
  • Cavs first year coach David Blatt is silencing the critics one meaningful win at a time, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes.  Blatt sometimes takes a condescending tone with reporters, which meant that he got off on the wrong foot with many Cleveland beat writers.  With the way the Cavs are playing now, however, it’d be hard to criticize the NBA newcomer.
  • If the Pistons want to add a strong defender in this year’s draft, they should take Arkansas’ Michael Qualls at No. 38, David Mayo of MLive.com writes.  “I look at the NBA, and for one, I see that no one really plays defense,” Qualls said. “There’s a couple defensive guys [on each team], but for the most part, everyone else is just offense. I’m fine on the offensive end, but I feel like I’ll be able to play the NBA game right away and be their defensive stopper.”
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