Eastern Notes: Biyombo, Rozier, Portis

Raptors center Bismack Biyombo has stepped up his play while filling in for Jonas Valanciunas, and the player is also beginning to find his niche in the league after being labeled a disappointment during his time in Charlotte, Jessica Patton of The Toronto Sun writes. “I think he understands now too who he is and what he is,” coach Dwane Casey told Patton. “He’s a rebounder and a defender. He doesn’t have to worry about scoring. He’s an opportunity scorer. [Before] everyone was kind of ‘ah, he can’t catch the ball, he can’t do that, he can’t do this,’ and they were concentrating on what he couldn’t do rather than what he can do.

Discussing the pressure being a lottery pick placed on Biyombo, Casey said, “It’s tough, but again there is no shame in having a role as an elite defender and an elite rebounder in the league. As long as Bismack is playing the way he is playing and playing with that confidence, you can erase seven, two, three, 10 [draft number] or whatever, he’s going to have an impact on the game.” The 23-year-old was the No. 7 overall pick back in the 2011 NBA draft.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The emergence of rookie power forward Bobby Portis will give Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg some difficult choices to make once Joakim Noah returns from his shoulder injury, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes. “Absolutely,” Hoiberg responded when asked if Portis has cemented himself in the rotation. “We’re going to continue to find minutes for Bobby and there’s no doubt about it. He’s playing too well, he’s playing with so much confidence. He rebounds the ball, he plays with a toughness and a swagger, and that’s what you want. We’ve talked all along; Bobby’s not going to back down from anybody and he continues to show that night after night.
  • The Celtics have re-assigned point guard Terry Rozier to their D-League affiliate in Maine, the team announced. This will be Rozier’s fifth stint with the Red Claws on the season.
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