Eastern Notes: Pacers, Nene, D-League Moves

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird admits his team hasn’t figured out whether to play with a smaller or bigger lineup, according to Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. The team’s inconsistent play has left him baffled, Taylor adds. “I just can’t get a handle on it right now because these guys are up and down,” Bird told Taylor. “I can’t tell you what is best for us right now. We’ve had success with the small lineup, but we’ve had success with two big guys in there. It’s going to take a little bit more time, but I would like to have won more games up to this point. I don’t think any of us feel comfortable with how we’re playing and the way things are going.” Bird wants coach Frank Vogel to continue using the smaller lineup for the time being to create offensive mismatches, even though the bigger lineup is statistically superior defensively, Taylor adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Nene is an essential frontcourt piece for the Wizards and he must stay healthy for the team to make a playoff run this season, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com opines. Nene’s passing, movement, screening, deflections and ability to create his own shot are why the Wizards weren’t interested in trading him during the offseason, J. Michael continues. The frontcourt combination of Marcin Gortat, DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries cannot duplicate his skills and the fact that Nene — who is making $13MM this season — becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer provides the added bonus of not tying up salary beyond this season, J. Michael adds.
  • The Bulls recalled power forward Cristiano Felicio from the D-League, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports (Twitter link).  The move is related to the shoulder injury suffered by center Joakim Noah on Friday, Johnson adds.
  • The Celtics assigned shooting guard R.J. Hunter to their D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, the team tweets.
  • The Raptors assigned power forward Anthony Bennett, small forward Bruno Caboclo and rookie shooting guard Delon Wright to their D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, the team tweets.
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