Central Notes: Portis, Connaughton, Love, Pistons

Following the Bucks’ loss to Indiana in the in-season tournament semifinals, forward Bobby Portis passionately challenged head coach Adrian Griffin and teammates to get better, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. Portis spoke about the need to improve their rebounding and also stressed to Griffin the importance of structuring the offense down the stretch of games.

Asked about it on Sunday, Portis didn’t deny he spoke up in the Bucks’ locker room, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. “Don’t know how it got reported; but at the same time, I’m just a competitor. I love to compete. I think I’m a leader. I lead by voice and I lead by example as well. … The guys know who I am. They know I wear my heart on my sleeve.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Griffin is optimistic Pat Connaughton can return this week, indicating on Sunday that he’s hopeful the Bucks wing will suit up in the next “four, five, six, seven days,” Nehm tweets. Connaughton, who is nursing an ankle injury, hasn’t played since Nov. 28.
  • Kevin Love reached a buyout agreement last season with the Cavaliers to join Miami, but he told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that he’s receptive to the idea of finishing out his career in Cleveland. “‘I’m never ruling that out,” he said. “I have so many great relationships there and people that I love. I’m not done with Cleveland. I am definitely open to coming back and retiring there.’”
  • The Pistons got blown out by the Magic on Friday for their 19th straight loss. Those two franchises seemed to be on parallel trajectories last season but now, while Orlando has taken off, Detroit is endlessly stuck in the rebuild, James Edwards III of The Athletic notes. “You can see right away that everyone (on the Magic) knows who they are — their roles, what they’re supposed to do when they come in, and they’re connected,” Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart said. “They’re connected. You hear them talking. You can just tell they’re connected.”
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