Tyrese Haliburton

Central Notes: Duren, Bucks, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren is encouraged by his development through the midway point of the 2022/23 season, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Duren, who began the year coming off the bench, has emerged as a starter for Detroit.

“I feel like I got a lot better from the first game until now,” Duren reflected. “Honestly, my biggest thing is growth. I feel like I’m going to continue to grow and develop throughout the rest of the season, too.”

Through 40 games this season, the 6’10” big man is averaging 7.8 PPG on 64.1% field goal shooting and 8.6 RPG.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks have had difficulty controlling turnovers all season, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s something we gotta work on,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said. Jrue (Holiday)’s just got the ball in his hands a ton. We’re asking a lot of him, putting him in a lot of stuff, but I think he can be better. And some of the other ones, I think we can clean up. The guys are trying and we have our stretches, we have our moments where it really hurts us, but it’s just an area where we can improve.” Nehm writes that the Bucks lose the rock 15.1% of the time, and rank just 21st in turnover percentage league-wide this year.
  • The Pacers are struggling to win without injured starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana has lost seven games in a row since Haliburton got hurt on January 11 with a left elbow sprain and bone bruise. “I knew he was a great player, but having him unavailable for seven games … and losing seven games is pretty strong [evidence of] how important he is to our franchise,” head coach Rick Carlisle said.
  • Second-year Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has stagnated somewhat on offense this season, thanks in part to the arrival of All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Lloyd thinks getting the ball to Mobley early, and featuring him in the post, would be a strong way to adjust for that. The big man’s 38 points on Saturday vs. Milwaukee represented by far his highest single-game total this season.

Central Notes: DeRozan, Caruso, McConnell, Haliburton, Stewart

With the February 9 trade deadline fast approaching, Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan knows that several teams could look quite different in a few weeks. He isn’t sure what Chicago’s front office will do, but says the current Bulls roster needs to focus on climbing up the standings.

Everybody else in the league is going to do what they feel is best for them,” DeRozan said, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I feel like, for us, we’re right there. We have to take advantage of the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

The Bulls are currently 21-24, the No. 10 seed in the East, but have gone 10-6 over their past 16 games, Cowley notes. DeRozan admits the first half of the 2022/23 season was a roller coaster.

We had a helluva first half with a lot of ups and downs,” DeRozan said. “Now it’s time to turn everything we went through into a positive. We’re right there. It’s a great opportunity this week to take it one game at a time and write our own story. That’s all we can worry about.”

Here’s more from the Central:

  • The Bulls have been cautious with Alex Caruso this season in an effort to have him available more often. His minutes have been cut back from 28.0 to 24.4 per game, and the veteran guard says he’s feeling the benefits, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I feel good,” Caruso said. “Anything that’s hurting right now is not out of the ordinary for anybody else in the league. Shoulder feels just about 100 percent from the last time we played Atlanta. Head is good. Knees are good. Feet are good. Hands are a little beat up, but that’s kind of the NBA. Anybody that doesn’t have a couple sprained thumbs or fat finger at this point of the year probably isn’t playing hard enough.” The defensive stalwart was limited to 41 games in ’21/22, but will make his 40th appearance on Monday against the Hawks.
  • Including the game he was hurt, the Pacers have now dropped seven straight games since Tyrese Haliburton went down with elbow and knee injuries. While the team is obviously struggling overall, backup point guard T.J. McConnell has been playing his best basketball of the season during the recent stretch, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. The 30-year-old, who is in the second year of a four-year contract, is averaging 15.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 8.3 APG and 1.7 SPG on .625/.750/1.000 shooting over his past seven contests, including a triple-double in Saturday’s loss to Phoenix.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle says Haliburton is making progress in his recovery, tweets Dopirak. The third-year guard’s elbow is evidently bothering him more than his knee at the moment, but he was able to go through the non-contact portions of Monday’s practice. Haliburton said a few days ago that he was targeting a return at the start of February.
  • Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart will be sidelined for Monday’s game against Milwaukee due to shoulder soreness, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link). It’s something that has been bothering him for a while — Stewart missed three straight games a couple weeks ago with the injury, returned for two contests, and is now out again.

Injury Notes: Haliburton, Davis, Warriors, K. Porter

Appearing on JJ Redick’s Old Man and The Three podcast, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton provided an update on his recovery from the elbow and knee injuries he sustained earlier this month. The team announced on January 12 that Haliburton would be reevaluated in two weeks, and he’s hoping that he won’t be out much longer than that.

“Starting to get stronger every day, feeling better every day,” he said (hat tip to Tony East of SI.com). “Got my second opinion, so things are going well. Hopefully in the next 11, 12 days, I feel better and can get back to start February. That’s the goal.”

A strong candidate to earn his first All-Star nod, Haliburton had been averaging 20.2 points and 10.2 assists per game for the surprisingly competitive Pacers, with shooting averages of 48.0% from the floor and 39.9% on threes, before he went down.

Indiana had a 23-18 record entering the game in which Haliburton got injured, but lost that night and have dropped four more contests since then to fall to .500 (23-23). While they won’t rush back their star player, the slumping Pacers would certainly be happy if he’s able to make it back sooner rather than later.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Although Shams Charania has repeatedly stated that Anthony Davis is on track to return in early February, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter video link) suggested in a TV appearance that the Lakers star could be back before then. “If everything continues to go the right way, he will be back playing for the Lakers next week at Crypto.com Arena and be with them for that entire road trip,” McMenamin said. Los Angeles plays home games next Tuesday and Wednesday before embarking on a five-game road trip that begins on January 28.
  • Stephen Curry (hip tightness), Draymond Green (toe soreness), Andrew Wiggins (foot soreness), Klay Thompson (Achilles injury management), and Andre Iguodala (hip soreness) will all miss Friday’s game in Cleveland, but the Warriors could have reserves Jonathan Kuminga (foot sprain) and JaMychal Green (leg infection) back, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kuminga, out since December 30, and Green, out since Dec. 18, are both listed as probable.
  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. visited a specialist on Friday to further evaluate the left foot contusion that has caused him to miss the last four games, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Porter and rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr., who sprained his right ankle on Wednesday, have both already been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Minnesota, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Cunningham, Hayes, DeRozan, Haliburton

Cade Cunningham pondered his choices for a long time before electing to undergo season-ending surgery on his left shin, but he’s convinced that he made the right choice, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Cunningham accompanied the Pistons on their flight to Paris for Thursday’s game, marking his first road trip with his teammates since having the operation last month.

The top pick in the 2021 draft was hesitant to miss so much of his second NBA season, and he did a lot of research to make sure surgery was the best option. Detroit’s front office let Cunningham make the final decision, and he consulted with other players who have been in similar situations, such as Jrue Holiday, Rodney McGruder and Tim Hardaway Jr., before making up his mind.

“It’s tough, man,” Cunningham said. “I’m so young into my career, and, to me, I feel like I still haven’t shown people who I am. I started to get a rhythm, but then my shin kept killing me. It was hard for me to put the entire season to the side, sit down and take care of it. After talking with everyone, I realized it’s a long game, and I have a lot more basketball to play. I just want to be able to play my game and not think about my body and try to overcompensate on different things.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons guard Killian Hayes hopes to represent France in the World Cup tournament, according to a Eurohoops report. Hayes, who played for French teams in international youth tournaments, understands that it won’t be easy to win a spot on the team. “I feel ready and want to be part of this group,” Hayes said in an interview with L’Équipe. “Still, your place is not given. You have to fight for it. I discussed, particularly with Nicolas Batum, my state of mind and the training camp planned for this summer. I want to do it, and I want to train with the France team and try to earn my place.
  • The chance to promote the NBA with a game in Paris means a lot to Bulls players such as DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “To be able to compete and do something in front of a fan base you don’t normally get the chance to do something in front of, I don’t take the opportunity for granted one bit,” DeRozan said. “It’s an experience that lasts a lifetime.”
  • The Pacers are suffering from a lack of a closer while Tyrese Haliburton is sidelined with knee and elbow injuries, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana has dropped three straight games without Haliburton and struggled to score in the second half of Monday’s loss at Milwaukee.

Central Notes: Green, Terry, Middleton, Haliburton

Bulls forward Javonte Green underwent a right knee scope on Wednesday, and Chicago reportedly expects him to return in around a month. After that news broke, head coach Billy Donovan explained why the team and Green opted for surgery, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

“He obviously had that bone bruise, which was causing him some problems,’’ Donovan said. “He did swell from it. Medical guys thought that this was something that could be managed if we backed off of him. They had a bunch of different therapies that they could try to do. They did that, and there really wasn’t much progress after a week.

“Given Javonte’s options with where we’re at in the season … obviously it was Javonte’s decision to do it, but I didn’t think from what I got from medical, and even what I got from Javonte, that there was a lot of progress with the interaction of just resting him,” Donovan continued.

Green is on the second year of a two-season, $3.5MM contract he signed with the Bulls, and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 6’5″ vet has emerged as a tenacious, if undersized, defender, mostly playing small forward and power forward.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Rookie Bulls wing Dalen Terry is not currently in the rotation, even with the team missing key swingmen like DeMar DeRozan and Green. He is hoping to carve out rotation minutes at some point this season, Cowley writes in a separate piece. “I’m definitely anxious to get playing time,’’ Terry said. “With the position I’m in right now, it’s just like you’ve gotta embrace it, but you can’t ever get comfortable. I can’t get comfortable with learning every day and not playing. I just have to find that balance.’’
  • Bucks All-Star small forward Khris Middleton practiced with Milwaukee on Tuesday and was involved in the club’s subsequent shootaround Wednesday, but will require more practice reps before he can make his return to the floor, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He continues to try to progress from the knee soreness that has kept him shelved since December 15. “It’s the next ramp-up step in returning to playing,” Middleton said. “It went well. Really, no swelling that came back yesterday, feel pretty good today. I know people get frustrated, but it’s like a day-by-day thing where I have to put myself through these various steps and have to sustain it for a lot of time in order to be back playing without pain or swelling.”
  • Pacers star point guard Tyrese Haliburton suffered a left elbow sprain and left knee bone contusion, and is set to miss at least the next two weeks before he is reassessed. Bob Kravitz of The Athletic writes that the team seems to have found a long-term keeper in Haliburton, a player who might actually love Indiana back for once, much like Hall of Fame shooting guard Reggie Miller, who spent all of his 18 NBA seasons trying to bring a title to the Pacers.

Tyrese Haliburton Out At Least Two Weeks With Elbow, Knee Injuries

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton will miss at least two weeks, which is when he’ll be reevaluated, due to a left elbow sprain and a mild left knee bone contusion, the team announced in a press release.

Haliburton’s injuries were revealed by an MRI on Thursday, but it sounds like the results might be somewhat inconclusive — the Pacers say they’re waiting for a second opinion.

As ESPN’s Tim Bontemps wrote this morning, Haliburton left Madison Square Garden on crutches after Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks. With just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, Haliburton drove to the basket for a layup attempt and lost his right shoe while falling awkwardly to the court (video link). He exited the game and did not return.

The Pacers, viewed during the preseason as one of the East’s worst teams, have significantly exceeded outside expectations so far in 2022/23. Their 23-19 record puts them in a tie with New York for the No. 6 seed in the conference, and Haliburton has been a huge part of that success.

Through 40 games (33.4 minutes), the third-year point guard has made a strong case for an All-Star spot, averaging 20.2 points, a league-leading 10.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals on .480/.399/.880 shooting.

No one player will be able to replace Haliburton’s production, but the Pacers do have other capable ball-handlers.

Andrew Nembhard, the 31st pick of last June’s draft, has started 28 games alongside Haliburton and has performed well as a complementary play-maker, but he was a primary initiator in college. Indiana also has T.J. McConnell, a solid backup point guard. Both players should see an uptick in minutes and touches.

Pacers’ Haliburton Injures Knee, Leaves Arena On Crutches

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton left Madison Square Garden on crutches on Wednesday night after injuring his left knee in the second half of Indiana’s game against the Knicks, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

With just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, Haliburton drove to the basket for a layup attempt and lost his right shoe while falling awkwardly to the court (video link). He hurt both his left knee and left elbow on the play, per Bontemps, though it sounds like the knee is the more pressing concern.

“He’ll get looked at (Thursday) closely,” head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the game. “He’s walking out of Madison Square Garden on crutches, so I would guess his availability on Friday (vs. Atlanta) will be in question, and probably Saturday (vs. Memphis), too.

“But who knows. One of the great things about Tyrese is he has been banged up the last year and a half that he’s been with us and he always wants to play. He always wants to play, and it’s something that’s really helped our culture as a team. So we’ll hope for the best. We’re surely not going to put him in harm’s way.”

The Pacers, viewed during the preseason as one of the East’s worst teams, have significantly exceeded outside expectations so far in 2022/23. Their 23-19 record puts them in a tie with New York for the No. 6 seed in the conference, and Haliburton has been a huge part of that success.

Through 40 games, the third-year point guard has made a strong case for an All-Star spot, averaging 20.2 points, a league-leading 10.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 33.4 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .480/.399/.880.

Haliburton’s injury came on the same night that the Pacers were without starting center Myles Turner, who was a late scratch due to back spasms, per Bontemps.

“We finished our team meeting, and Myles had a spasm, a reaction in his back. It tightened up pretty significantly. Trainers worked on him for a while, and then he was ruled out,” Carlisle said.

Making it clear that Turner’s unexpected absence was the result of his back ailment and not a trade, Carlisle reiterated a point he made earlier in the season, telling reporters that he has “no interest” in trading the big man. As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star notes (via Twitter), the decision on Turner’s future will ultimately be up to Indiana’s front office, but Carlisle is ensuring that his position is known.

Central Notes: Bogdanovic, Middelton, Lopez, Haliburton

The Pistons may have the league’s worst record, but that won’t deter Dwane Casey from proclaiming that Bojan Bogdanovic deserves All-Star recognition, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News writes.

“I hope people don’t look at our record as a rebuilding team and punish him for that because to me, Bogey’s an All-Star,” the Pistons’ head coach said. “I’ve coached a lot of offensive players in my career when you talk about (Dirk) Nowitzki, (DeMar) DeRozan, a lot of those guys, Kevin Garnett. Offensively, he’s right up there with those guys as far as scoring the basketball.”

Bogdanovic, who signed a two-year extension with the Pistons early this season, is averaging a team-high 20.8 points.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton made his long-awaited return from wrist surgery early this month, but now swelling in his knee has sidelined him, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. “I would say way better than I was last week when I stopped playing,” Middleton said Saturday. “A lot of swelling in my knee went down. Just taking it day-by-day. Just trying to make sure the next time I go back out there I’ll be out there for the long run.” Middleton missed his fifth consecutive game on Sunday, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets.
  • Bucks center Brook Lopez was sidelined much of last season due to a back injury. Lopez has not only been healthy this season, he has emerged as a candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He told Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated that he’s humbled to be in that discussion. “Absolutely it would mean something, it would be a great honor,” Lopez said. “I’ve had a very interesting career arc. The changes I’ve had to make to my game to stay in the league, I’m proud of that and I’m proud of the player I’ve become. It would definitely be an honor.”
  • Tyrese Haliburton was held to one point the first time the Pacers faced the Heat this month. The rematch was way different, as he erupted for 43 points and set a franchise-record with 10 3-pointers on Friday. Haliburton felt he had something to prove to Miami, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star relays. “Last time we played these guys, they really had me in check,” he said. “I just had to come out here and respond the right way.”

Central Notes: Cunningham, Caruso, Green, Terry, Hield, Haliburton

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that Cade Cunningham was resistant to having season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). Cunningham hoped that a few weeks of rest would allow him to get back on the court, but he ultimately chose to undergo the procedure this week.

“No player wants to sit out,” the Pistons GM said. “He’s a highly-competitive young player and he wants to play and he wants to be a part of the group. Of course, this is a tough deal for him to have to sit down and get this taken care of.”

The Pistons’ rebuilding timeline won’t be affected by Cunningham’s injury, Weaver insists: “Injuries are a part of it, but it doesn’t change anything. It changes for Cade, but not for what we are trying to accomplish. We’re trying to continue to grow the program and compete every night. … We’re still going full blast ahead.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Alex Caruso and Javonte Green were inserted into the Bulls‘ starting lineup in place of Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams a couple of weeks ago. That lineup only lasted one game before minor injuries to Caruso and Green led to more adjustments. Caruso and Green could be back in the lineup again when the Bulls host the Knicks on Wednesday, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bulls rookie Dalen Terry isn’t ready to be a rotation piece, coach Billy Donovan told Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Terry has spent a majority of the last two months with the G League Windy City Bulls. “If you’re throwing him in the rotation you’re having to sit somebody else,” Donovan said of the 18th overall pick. “And right now, clearly, I don’t think he’s at the level of some of our guys. “
  • Pacers guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield have formed a strong bond and are constantly putting each other down in joking fashion. Their relationship has helped bring the entire team closer, Oshae Brissett told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “All the time,” Brissett said. “Practice, on the plane, lunch, dinner, they’re always like that. But it’s all love. Brotherly love. If those two are like that, it brings the team together and everyone else has to follow.”

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).