The Cavaliers have continued to fire on all cylinders with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland making their respective returns from injuries this week — they’ve won four games in a row and 12 of their last 13.
In a look at Cleveland’s hot streak, Joe Vardon of The Athletic highlights the role that sharpshooter Sam Merrill has played in the team’s recent success. The 27-year-old, who wasn’t part of the Cavaliers’ rotation earlier in the season, has made 3.4 three-pointers per game at a 43.5% clip over the club’s past 14 contests.
Merrill has a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2024/25, so if he continues to produce for the Cavs in a part-time role, the team will certainly guarantee that money and consider it a bargain. The fourth-year wing will become eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2025.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- Although Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has confirmed that Tyrese Haliburton is on a minutes restriction following his return from a hamstring injury, Carlisle has declined to offer any details on the distribution of those minutes or explain why the star point guard hasn’t played in the fourth quarter of either of his first two games back, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. On both Tuesday in Boston and Thursday in New York, Haliburton was subbed out for good with about six minutes left in the third quarter — in each case, Indiana held a lead at some point after that, but faded down the stretch and lost the game.
- The Bucks have made another addition to Doc Rivers‘ coaching staff, hiring Pete Dominguez as an assistant, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Dominguez previously worked under Rivers with the Clippers and Sixers.
- Former eighth overall pick Marquese Chriss has joined the Wisconsin Herd, per an announcement from the Bucks‘ G League affiliate (Twitter link). The 26-year-old power forward last played in the NBA with Dallas in 2022.
- The Pistons‘ two 2022 lottery picks, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, were named to the Rising Stars event for the second straight year, but both players have higher expectations for themselves going forward, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required). “The goal is still to be an All-Star one day,” Duren said. “That’s what I want to come back for.”