Central Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Haliburton, Livers, Duren

Sunday’s loss to the Kings dropped the Bulls to 9-14 on the season, certainly not the start they had hoped for in 2022/23. Zach LaVine, who has struggled to find his All-Star form thus far after offseason knee surgery, scored a season-high 41 points, but he admits the losing has been getting to him, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

I’ve been frustrated for a little bit. Obviously, trying to get myself going. We haven’t been winning a lot. Sometimes that carries over when you care a lot,” LaVine said of his “feisty demeanor” in the 110-101 loss. “I put a lot of work into this. And when things don’t go right on the court and you feel like you’ve been either fouled or it’s a bad play or you miss a shot, sometimes your emotions come out.”

Still, LaVine is confident the Bulls will eventually turn things around, according to Johnson.

I always have personal belief in myself. And I think guys around the locker room have that same characteristic,” he said. “I think that leaks into the team and gives everybody confidence.”

Fellow star DeMar DeRozan said he’s glad that everyone in the locker room is taking the losses hard, because it shows they care — it’s just a matter of figuring out how to bounce back.

That’s the beauty of sports. When you’re down, how do you respond to it? A true competitor is going to pull through,” DeRozan said, per Johnson. “All these guys show frustration, show anger. And that’s a great sign.”

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, the NBA’s leader in assists per game (10.9), missed his first game of the 2022/23 season on Sunday with a sore groin. He will also miss Monday’s contest at Golden State with the injury, as Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star relays. The Pacers have dropped four of five on their West Coast road trip and currently hold a 12-11 record.
  • Pistons head coach Dwane Casey recently provided some details on Isaiah Livers‘ right shoulder sprain, which the second-year forward sustained last week when Mavs center Dwight Powell committed an offensive foul, according to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link). “They cracked him on a screen. He went shoulder-first. …That was something that was unfortunate because Isaiah has quietly become one of our better on-ball defenders. We’ll miss him but now it’s an opportunity for somebody else to step up and take that role,” Casey said. There’s no timetable for Livers’ return.
  • Pistons center Jalen Duren has exceeded external expectations for his rookie season, but not his own, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “I expect greatness out of myself,” Duren said. “I work hard every day. For me, it’s all about winning. If me on the floor is going to help us win, then cool. And if me on the bench is going to help us win, then that’s cool, too.” The 13th overall pick of June’s draft, Duren is averaging 6.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 0.9 BPG through 22 games (21.6 MPG).
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