Eastern Notes: Barnes, Embiid, Ball, Caruso, Pistons

Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes impressed during his first back-to-back slate on Friday and Saturday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports writes. Barnes was used as the primary defender against Boston’s Jayson Tatum in game one, then was given the assignment of guarding Dallas’ Luka Doncic in game two.

“It’s a challenge that I’m willing to take each and every night,” Barnes said of guarding the NBA’s top players, according to Lewenberg. “It’s what I look forward to.”

The 6’9″ Barnes was drafted by Toronto with the No. 4 pick in July. He has averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per game during his first three contests, starting in every outing.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers isn’t concerned by Joel Embiid‘s recent knee injury, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Embiid managed to play in Philadelphia’s loss against Brooklyn on Friday, recording 19 points (6-of-15 shooting) and eight rebounds in nearly 30 minutes of work.
  • Bulls guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have been bringing chaos defensively, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times examines. The pair’s strong defensive effort is a key reason why Chicago is 3-0 to start the season. “(Ball and Caruso are) so active (defensively) you’ve got to be aware of them,’’ LaVine said, as relayed by Cowley. “Even for guys like me and DeMar DeRozan), it helps us be in the passing lanes more, get some extra rebounds because then guys’ rhythm is off. They’re effort and energy bleeds throughout us as a team.’’
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News examines the positives and negatives of the Pistons‘ start to the campaign. Detroit is 0-2 and dropped both contests to Chicago, having been held to 88 points and 82 points, respectively. The Pistons finished with the worst record in the East last season at 20-52.
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