Max Strus

Cavaliers Notes: Game 1, Strus, Allen, Wade

The Cavaliers seemed to use Game 1 to try to figure out how to handle the top-seeded Celtics for the rest of the series, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland was overwhelmed in the second half on Tuesday on the way to a 25-point loss, but Vardon writes that the players didn’t appear shaken by the defeat and are viewing it as a learning experience.

“I think you can see the formula of how to attack, how to put yourself and the group in proper positions to succeed,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I think you can figure some things out (after one game), but we’ve got to make some shots. They’re a high-volume team, a high-powered team.”

The main concern coming out of the opener is how to reduce the number of good shots Boston is getting from beyond the arc, Vardon adds. The Celtics pulled away by making 18 three-pointers, including seven by Derrick White and four from Jaylen Brown.

“We have to do a better job of limiting the amount of three-pointers that they took,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “That’s being in our spots as early as we can be, but doing a better job than we did tonight of reading the basketball.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Most of Cleveland’s roster has never faced the Celtics in a playoff series, but this is the third year in a row for Max Strus, Vardon notes. Strus said that with Kristaps Porzingis injured, Boston’s current lineup is very similar to the team that Miami defeated in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
  • Jarrett Allen continues to struggle with a rib injury that he suffered in Game 4 of the first-round series with Orlando. Allen missed the rest of that series and wasn’t able to play in Game 1 against Boston. “He hasn’t been feeling comfortable at all with that rib contusion,” Shams Charania said on Run It Back by FanDuel (video link). “… There hasn’t been much optimism that he was going to play last night, we’ll see in the games to come if there is.” Allen is “really uncomfortable,” according to Charania’s sources.
  • Dean Wade has already been ruled out for Thursday’s Game 2, tweets Chris Fedor of Wade has been sidelined since March 8 with a sprained right knee, but the Cavs are hopeful that he can return at some point during this series.

Cavaliers Notes: LeVert, Roster Depth, Altman

Every game is meaningful for Cavaliers swingman Caris LeVert since his recovery from kidney cancer surgery in 2021, writes Marc J. Spears of Andscape. LeVert’s condition was discovered during a physical after he was sent from Brooklyn to Indiana in a four-team trade. An MRI on his lower back revealed a small mass on his left kidney, and after undergoing an operation to treat a renal cell carcinoma, he was able to return before the end of the season.

“Obviously, I’m grateful to still be playing basketball, to be honest with you,” LeVert said. “It was something that was super unexpected. It just gave me perspective as to how lucky I am to be doing this for a living.”

LeVert has been able to continue his career since the cancer scare, but he says hydration is more important than ever. He’s playing a valuable role for Cleveland, where he’s a candidate for Sixth Man honors, averaging 13.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 63 games.

“He’s been extremely important to us because of his versatility, his willingness to sacrifice and come off the bench because he’s an NBA starter,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “It changes the dynamic of what we’re able to do with our second unit. His minutes versus second-unit guys typically gives us an advantage. He’s bought into being our best one-on-one defensive player. So, he helps us finish games because we can put him in and he can play both defensive and offensive lineups.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers have a much deeper roster this season, which is why they were able to post a 17-1 stretch despite injuries to Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, notes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Additions such as Max Strus and Georges Niang provide more options than the team had when it got bounced in the first round last year. “You can never have too much talent, but I will say this: I think it’s a testament to our depth,” general manager Koby Altman said. “We knew last summer we would have to make ourselves deeper, making ourselves more explosive, diversifying our offense.”
  • The Cavs may reexamine everything if they lose in the first round again, but otherwise there’s no reason to believe Altman’s job is in jeopardy, Chris Fedor of states in a mailbag column (subscription required). Fedor argues that the team has overachieved this season considering that virtually every key player has missed time with injuries. He cites the additions of Strus and Niang, the finding of undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr. and the recent signing of veteran forward Marcus Morris as positive moves by Altman.
  • Cleveland has to be ready for opponents blitzing Garland and Donovan Mitchell to force the ball out of their hands, Fedor adds in a separate story. That means other players have to be ready to exploit the advantages created by double teaming the ball-handler. “We try to take the play that is there,” Bickerstaff said. “We have enough talent on this team that if we just make the simple play then defenses are going to have to make tough choices. They came out and they were ‘hotting’ us or ‘trapping’ us in the pick and roll, so the play was to get it to the big and let the big do his thing. Our bigs are elite when they catch the ball in the pocket and are capable of making all the plays.”

Central Notes: Haliburton, Turner, Strus, Green

Assuming he remains healthy, Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton is on track to appear in 69 games this season. Haliburton has noted in the past that he felt he returned a bit soon from a hamstring injury, in part because he knows he needs to appear in 65 contests in order to qualify for postseason honors, writes Joe Vardon and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Specifically, the Indiana phenom is hoping to land on an All-NBA team, which would increase the value of his five-year, maximum-salary contract extension worth roughly $245MM. Otherwise, he’ll make $204.5MM.

“It’s no secret what’s at stake for me personally this year, and for us [as] a group,” Haliburton told Vardon and Amick. “So I feel like I’m looking to help lead this group. And if I’m playing like this and we’re still winning, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me. I’ll get over it because obviously I’m doing enough to help us win. But when we’re not winning and I’m doing this, then that’s when it can really get to me.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Haliburton and Pacers center Myles Turner seem to have unlocked an elite pick-and-roll chemistry, writes Mark Medina of Sportskeeda. “They understand the attention that they bring to themselves,” power forward Obi Toppin said of the fearsome twosome’s tandem attack. “They understand the attention that they bring to themselves. They allow other people to play on the ball to get them open. That helps them tremendously.”
  • Cavaliers shooting guard Max Strus is back from a knee injury, but a playoff-bound Cleveland club is struggling down the home stretch of the regular season, writes Chris Fedor of To wit, the Cavaliers recently dropped a game to a banged-up, lottery-bound Hornets squad on Wednesday, 118-111. “We just didn’t play hard,” Strus said. “Nobody wanted to play defense tonight. That was our problem. Can’t lose to teams like this at this point in the season. Is what it is. Gotta take it on the chin and hopefully get back at it on Friday.” He scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, which included 5-of-10 shooting from deep. He also chipped in four rebounds and two steals.
  • In a 125-99 blowout win over the Pacers on Wednesday, Bulls wing Javonte Green saw his first game action since rejoining Chicago on a 10-day deal. Players and fans alike seemed happy he was back in Bulls red, notes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Green was tasked during his initial nine-minute stint with defending the much taller Indiana power forward Pascal Siakam, but he did his best to pester the two-time All-Star. The 6’4″ vet, who finished the night with a game-high +26 mark in 19 minutes, got an ovation from the United Center faithful when he first was subbed into the contest. “It means a lot,” Green said. “Especially coming from this city, the city that really gave me an opportunity to showcase my talent during the game.”

Central Notes: Cavaliers, McDermott, Sasser, Bitim

The rigors of a long season and the toll of injuries caught up with the Cavaliers Sunday night in Miami, writes Chris Fedor of The Cavs looked “disinterested, distracted and exhausted,” according to Fedor, as they trailed by 21 points at halftime and fell behind by as many as 45 in the second half.

“We’ve asked these guys to do so much,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We have asked them to carry a burden of everybody having to do more because of all the injuries and the things we are going through. I think it just showed tonight. It caught up with us. I think mentally and physically, we are worn. It’s on us all to figure it out. No excuses. It doesn’t get any easier. I think tonight was one of those nights where collectively it just set in on us. It was uncharacteristic of this group. I think we had one of those nights.”

Cleveland welcomed back Evan Mobley, who played 21 minutes in his return from a left ankle sprain that had sidelined him since March 5. However, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus and Dean Wade all remain sidelined, and Bickerstaff pulled his starters early in the third quarter to save them for tonight’s second game of a back-to-back.

“These games happen in the NBA where you just get knocked out in the first half and you can never really get back up and start swinging,” Georges Niang said. “Nobody is going to feel bad for us because everybody has had to go through the same thing this year. You just have to have amnesia and flush this one. There is nothing that we can gain from this. Nobody likes getting beat like we just got beat. I think we will remember the feeling of what it felt like to get whooped and fight to never have that feeling again.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Doug McDermott has become a dangerous weapon for the Pacers since returning from a strained right calf that kept him out of action for nearly a month, observes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Over his last three games, McDermott is 9-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-11 from three-point range. “With shooting, there’s going to be some weird pockets every once in a while,” McDermott said. “I wasn’t shooting it great. I knew every time I shoot the ball it has a chance of going in. I just gotta have that belief and just keep firing away. These guys are so unselfish. They kept finding me. It will fall.”
  • Pistons rookie Marcus Sasser is a natural scorer who’s learning to play point guard in the NBA, per James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Sasser is shooting 44.1% from the field and 39.3% from three-point range, but at 6’1″ he needs to develop his play-making skills to fully unlock his game. “There’s a difference learning when to score, when to pass,” he said. “The main thing, right now, I’m just trying to get better in pick-and-rolls, to make the right reads. I feel like the scoring and stuff will come. It’s a learning experience for me.”
  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times examines whether Onuralp Bitim can develop into a Max Strus-type player for the Bulls.

Central Notes: Wade, Cavs, Thompson, McDermott, Stewart

After missing the Cavaliers‘ past three games for personal reasons, forward Dean Wade rejoined the club and participated in Friday’s practice, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required).

With forward Evan Mobley unavailable due to a left ankle sprain, Wade had been inserted into the starting lineup prior to his stint away from the team. Georges Niang was elevated to the starting five during Wade’s absence, and it’s unclear whether Wade will reclaim that spot once he’s ready to return, Fedor writes. The Cavaliers can put off that decision for at least one more game, since Wade will be out on Saturday in Houston due to knee soreness (Twitter link via Fedor).

As for Mobley, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the big man is doing some “light work” and making progress in his recovery. A source tells Fedor that Mobley did some shooting work on Friday, but didn’t participate in practice and is unlikely to play on the Cavaliers’ current road trip, which runs through Monday.

There’s also still no specific timeline for the return of Max Strus from a left knee strain, Fedor adds. The Cavs’ starting small forward will miss his seventh straight game on Saturday.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a separate subscriber-only story for, Fedor notes that Tristan Thompson‘s 25-game suspension has come to an end, meaning he can once again be active for the Cavaliers as of Saturday. Thompson, who expressed excitement about returning, joked that he was so anxious to play that he “thought about sneaking into the arena a couple times” during his suspension. Bickerstaff, meanwhile, lauded Thompson’s impact in the locker room and referred to the veteran center as “this group’s big brother.”
  • Pacers forward Doug McDermott is “getting close” from returning from the right calf strain that has kept him on the shelf for the past eight games, head coach Rick Carlisle said on Friday, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. McDermott has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest against Brooklyn, but practiced on Friday. Indiana should benefit from re-adding him to a second unit that recently lost Bennedict Mathurin for the season.
  • In an interesting conversation with James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart discussed what it was like coming to terms with the knowledge that he won’t become a superstar at the NBA level after starring at every level prior to being drafted. “You definitely have to swallow some ego,” Stewart said. “… Once you get to a certain point … I guess, you see it for what it is. I’m just shooting you straight — there aren’t often plays called for me. For me, it’s, ‘How can I still impact the game?’ To me, I’d rather have the impact that I have, on defense. I feel like I can control the game that way.”

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Strus, Lillard, Haliburton

With an established rotation already in place, the chances of the Cavaliers adding help in the buyout market are “incredibly low,” according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The recent returns from injury by Darius Garland and Evan Mobley have given the team a healthy roster, leaving no obvious role for a buyout player to fill. Sources tell Fedor that the front office is being honest with prospective additions about the shortage of available playing time.

Many of the top names on the market — such as Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and Delon Wright — have already committed to other teams. Fedor hears that Cleveland had interest in Danilo Gallinari, but the veteran forward chose Milwaukee, where he’ll have a better shot at regular minutes. Marcus Morris appears unlikely to land with the Cavs since he’s reportedly leaning toward the Timberwolves if the Spurs buy him out, according to former teammate Patrick Beverley (Twitter link).

Fedor says Cleveland would like to add one more shooter off its bench, which makes former Net Joe Harris and ex-Sixer Furkan Korkmaz intriguing names to watch. The Cavaliers have liked Korkmaz for a long time and made an effort to sign him in free agency in 2021, according to Fedor. He also mentions Davis Bertans and Seth Curry as options if they agree to buyouts with the Hornets and considers the PistonsEvan Fournier as a more remote possibility.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are committed to Max Strus as a starter and are unlikely to shake up their starting five before the end of the season, Fedor adds in the same piece. The team pursued Strus last summer to provide improved shooting and floor spacing, and Fedor notes that he requires constant attention from opposing defenses, even though his shooting numbers have declined. Fedor also points out that coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants a longer look at his current starting lineup, which has been limited to 239 total minutes together because of injuries.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard doesn’t bring much strategy to the Three-Point Contest, which he won for the second straight year Saturday night, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I didn’t prepare at all,” Lillard said. “I think that’s the key to it. I kept telling (teammate Malik Beasley) my first two times I did it, I was practicing, I had racks, I was trying to get ready for it and I just went out there and I didn’t win. And then last year, I never practiced. I never shot off a rack. I just showed up and won.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton plans to keep trying for a three-point title after a close call on his home court, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton was in a four-way deadlock for the best score after the first round, but he lost in a tie-breaker and failed to reach the finals. “I think I’m going to just keep coming back until they don’t allow me to, and eventually I’m going to win one,” he said.

Cavs Rumors: Okoro, Caruso, Fontecchio, Trade Targets

The Cavaliers are making and taking calls leading up to Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, according to Chris Fedor of (subscriber link), who reports that the team continues to eye players with three-and-D skill sets. However, Cleveland has a limited number of trade assets, including no movable first-round picks, so the club may ultimately stand pat at the deadline and explore the buyout market afterward, Fedor writes.

Any trade of significance – beyond a minor tweak around the edges of the roster – would likely have to include former lottery pick Isaac Okoro, sources tell But the Cavs highly value Okoro both on and off the court, viewing him as their best on-ball defender and the player who figures to take on the most challenging perimeter assignments in the postseason.

If the Cavs did move Okoro, they’d presumably be targeting a player who could provide similar resistance on defense and more punch on offense. Fedor suggests the team has had internal discussions about Bulls guard Alex Caruso, an elite defender who has been a better three-point shooter than Okoro (on a higher volume) this season. However, Chicago’s asking price for Caruso is steep, so Cleveland would have to be willing to give up more than just Okoro.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • The Cavaliers have had some “cursory” conversations with the Jazz about Simone Fontecchio, Fedor reports, noting that the two teams have worked together on multiple trades in recent years, including the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster. Fontecchio has already reportedly drawn interest from Boston and Phoenix.
  • Cleveland has had interest in Hornets forward P.J. Washington in the past and briefly revisited that possibility this season, but the cost will likely be too high, Fedor writes. According to Fedor, Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are also still on the Cavs’ radar, while Nets guard Lonnie Walker and Grizzlies wing John Konchar are among the other potential targets worth keeping an eye on.
  • Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic could be a fit in Cleveland, but his $20MM salary makes him a long shot, since the Cavs don’t appear inclined to part with any of their key rotation players, says Fedor. It’s safe to assume that group includes Caris LeVert ($15.4MM) and Max Strus ($14.5MM).
  • This was J.B. Bickerstaff‘s response when the Cavs’ head coach was recently asked about the trade deadline, per Fedor: “We’re happy where we are. Our front office has to do their due diligence and do their job and you never know what you can turn over, but we haven’t had a ton of conversations about particulars because we are happy with where we are. We’re pleased with the group of guys we have and the way we have been playing. I don’t want to lose anybody, and we are not desperate for anybody to come in.”

Cavaliers Notes: Mobley, Garland, Allen, Thompson, Porter

Injured Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley is making steady progress in his return from left knee surgery and participated in a contact practice on Thursday, according to Chris Fedor of, who says Mobley could return as soon as next week after being sidelined since December 6.

If everything continues to progress, it will be soon,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Fedor. “He’s progressed positively. It’s what you want to see. He hasn’t had any setbacks to slow his progression. He continues to ramp up in the right direction. It’s what we expected. He looks good. He continues to build. It remains a matter of how everything responds.”

However, even if Mobley does come back next week, he’ll be on a minutes restriction to start out, Fedor notes.

It will probably be a low-20-minute-a-night workload to start with,” Bickerstaff said. “We’ve got to ramp him back up. When you go down with a knee injury, not a lot of conditioning that you can do and those types of things. You can’t simulate the NBA. We will work on that. We will let him get his conditioning back. The minutes will increase as that gets better.”

Mobley may be back soon, but point guard Darius Garland will likely be out a while longer, Fedor adds. Garland is working his way back into shape after sustaining a broken jaw on December 14 vs. Boston.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Center Jarrett Allen set a team record with his 12th consecutive double-double in Monday’s win over Orlando, Fedor writes for (subscription required). Allen later extended the streak to 13 games in Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee. Allen has stepped up in a major way since Mobley and Garland went down with injuries, averaging 18.4 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.4 BPG while shooting 64.0% from the field and 83.9 from the line during the streak. “He’s a hell of a person,” star guard Donovan Mitchell said of Allen, a former All-Star. “To see the work that he puts in on a daily basis, it’s great to see those efforts starting to come to fruition. To be able to do it after losing someone who is an All-Defensive player like Ev, be able to hold the fort down, set that tone for us, it’s incredible. I’m happy for him. He acknowledged it but he’s not satisfied. The biggest thing was the win. These don’t mean anything if we lose. I think that’s one of the things that’s so special about him. He means everything to us. He is the catalyst.”
  • Backup center Tristan Thompson gave an emotional apology to his teammates before the news of his 25-game suspension was announced, Fedor adds in another subscriber-only story. A veteran leader with a prominent voice in the locker room, Thompson was suspended for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Thompson’s teammates said they gained more respect for him for taking responsibility for his actions. “Tristan is huge for our team,” Max Strus said. “The things he does as leader off the court and what he does for us on the bench, the inspiration he gives us when he plays and how hard he plays, we’re going to miss that. We’re just gonna ask somebody else to step up. We have to band around our brother. We’re always going to be here for him.”
  • According to rookie guard Craig Porter, who is on a two-way deal with Cleveland, the only reason he’s in the NBA is because he was able to attend the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, he told Alex Kennedy on the Running Up The Score podcast (Twitter video link). That’s how he drew the attention of NBA scouts, with Porter saying he’d be playing overseas right now if he hadn’t had the opportunity. Porter has been viewed as a strong candidate to be promoted to a standard deal later in the season, as two-way players aren’t playoff-eligible.

Central Notes: White, LaVine, Holiday, Strus

Coby White is in the midst of a career year and a bounce-back season with the Bulls, averaging 18.5 points in 39 games (all starts) after registering 9.7 PPG across 74 games (two starts) in 2022/23. Head coach Billy Donovan spoke highly of White’s season, suggesting the fifth-year guard is on an All-Star trajectory, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.

I think Coby going forward, if he can continue to stay on this path, he’ll be a guy that will be considered for an All-Star Game,” Donovan said. “I think he’s got that kind of ability. I think the other thing that’s come out is his leadership. He’s got an ability to lead. And I would consider him still moving into his prime.

White, who averaged 22.6 points in December, ranks third on the team in scoring, behind six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan and two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. The UNC product isn’t just scoring the ball a lot — he’s doing it at an efficient clip, shooting career highs of 44.9% from the field and 40.2% from deep (7.3 attempts). Additionally, he’s second on the team in assists per game (4.9, a career best).

I think what happened early on is that it’s really hard to be a leader when you’re one-dimensional, and he was a one-dimensional player,” Donovan said of White early in his career. “Because he’s become so multidimensional, it’s a lot easier leading. When you’re in there rebounding and you’re defending — I mean, he never took charges. He’s taking charges now.

When you start doing all those things, you have a much bigger voice where you can start holding other players accountable because you’re doing the things yourself and you would expect others to do those along with you. All those things, he can be a great piece for us.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • LaVine recently returned from a 17-game absence and has played three games, all Bulls victories, since his return. After recording 25 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in Chicago’s latest win over the Rockets, LaVine spoke about his return to play to reporters. “I’m just happy we’re winning,” LaVine said (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry. “I’m going out there giving guys a little boost, hopefully defensively. And offensively, obviously [on] that side of the floor being a weapon people have to worry about.
  • Celtics guard Jrue Holiday is making his return to Fiserv Forum on Thursday where he played in front of Bucks fans as a member of the organization for three seasons. The Bucks won the 2021 title with Holiday and fans showed him love with an ovation on Thursday (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Eric Nehm). However, Holiday was all business when asked about the topic before traveling there. “So to be able to go back to Milwaukee should be fun,” Holiday said via The Athletic’s Jay King (Twitter link). “I was there for three years and we did great things there but I’m on to better things.
  • Cavaliers forward Max Strus left Cleveland’s Thursday game against the Nets in the first quarter and did not return with what the team said was right knee soreness, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon (Twitter link). The Cavaliers don’t play again until Monday, so it’s possible Strus is good to go for that game. Sam Merrill started the second half in place of Strus on Thursday and finished with six points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes.

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.