Central Notes: Strus, DeRozan, Williams, Pacers

An Illinois native, Max Strus was on a two-way contract with the Bulls earlier in his career, but was ultimately let go by the team. Chicago also didn’t show much interest in him during free agency this past summer. That’s why the Cavaliers guard took extra satisfaction in Cleveland’s win over Chicago in which he contributed 26 points, seven assists and two steals, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

It’s always special,” Strus said of playing at the Bulls’ United Center. “Growing up here, coming to games, I get goosebumps every time the starting lineup (introduction) comes on. So, dreaming of moments playing in this building as a kid. It’s always special when I come back.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Despite the loss to Cleveland, Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan sees a lot of positives from his team during recent weeks, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’ve been resilient,” said DeRozan, a free agent after the season. “The first part of the season, there was a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration. We dug ourselves out of that hole and found the positivity to lean on, kind of thrust ourselves toward the right direction.”
  • The Pistons tied the NBA single-season record with their 26th straight loss on Saturday but coach Monty Williams says it hasn’t killed his team’s spirit. “Everybody feels down when you lose and you’ve lost this many in a row. You have to allow people to be human. But the way they come back the next day is something I’m blown away at,” Williams said on Bally Sports Detroit (video link). “I’ve been around a lot of teams. Not many teams have that type of resilience. Our guys don’t want to be a part of any kind of losing streak. But every day they come back with focus and drive and grit, trying to win a game.”
  • The Pacers lack size on the wings, which is a major reason for their .500 record and inability to get stops, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files notes. That has made it difficult for Indiana to slow down the opponents’ best player, since that is normally the job of an athletic 6’7″ or 6’8″ wing.
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