Central Notes: Portis, Love, Pistons

Having served his team-mandated eight-game suspension, Bulls forward Bobby Portis will make his return to action on Tuesday night. As Nick Friedell of ESPN writes, however, it’s not yet clear how he’ll fit into the club’s rotation.

I think he’s handled it as well as he could have,” Bulls center Robin Lopez said of Portis. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen going forward with rotations or anything, but I know he’s mentally prepared for it, and we’re excited to have him back.

Portis came on strong for the Bulls toward the end of last season but the franchise is in a much different spot now than they were just a few months ago. There’s no guarantee that the big man’s spot on the depth chart will look the same in 2017/18.

Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen has thrived at the four, averaging 16.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in his first campaign.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After exiting Sunday’s afternoon tilt with the Hawks, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure because of an illness, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. Details are not yet known.
  • After a busy offseason, the Pistons are off to their best start since 2008/09. It’s not because of recently acquired starter Avery Bradley alone, however. “I’ve said this several times, I think [Bradley] has changed the demeanor of our team,” head coach Stan Van Gundy told the media, Ansar Khan of MLive among them. “I would give him a good part of the credit, but then I think Stanley Johnson being in the starting lineup has helped with that. But I don’t want to take away from the other guys – Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, some of those other guys have made a more concerted effort talking.”
  • As of Saturday evening, the Cavaliers had allowed a league-worst 111.9 points per 100 possessions. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes that the teams offensive woes could be having an impact on their performance on the other side of the ball. “When we’re not making shots and not scoring I think it becomes mental,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “That’s for a lot of teams. If you’re not scoring, your defense drops. So, I think a lot of guys are frustrated that we’re not making shots and we’re not scoring.
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