East Notes: Pacers, Playoffs, Pistons, Jalen Duren, Bulls


Coach Rick Carlisle thinks the Pacers are already in playoff mode, using Friday’s home win over the Lakers as an example.Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers

“These are all playoff games you know,” he told reporters. “I mean, they’re fighting for their position in the standings. We are, too.”

Indiana hasn’t won a playoff series since 2014 and has lost nine straight postseason games overall.

  • Point guard Tyrese Haliburton said it’s been a great year, but cautioned against looking at the standings. “When you get caught up in the standings and how far the playoffs are, matchups and all that stuff, I think you lose what’s in front of you and I think we’ve seen examples of that throughout the course of our season,” he said. “So for us, it’s taking it on a game-to-game basis, understanding every game is very meaningful moving forward.”
  • Carlisle tied late Celtics legend Red Auerbach for 12th on the NBA’s all-time victory list with 938 wins. Carlisle spent time with the Celtics as a player.


The Pistons won a battle of bottom-feeders over the Wizards on Friday, behind Jalen Duren‘s 20 points and 18 rebounds. Duren has had at least 18 boards in three of the previous four meetings vs. the Wizards.

“I don’t know. I guess they just don’t have nobody to keep me off the glass,” Duren said. “It’s no different than every night. I try to go out and dominate the boards. That’s something that I always try to bring to our team.”

  • The Pistons won by a measly 96-87 count, including an ugly 16-12 edge in the fourth quarter. “We’d love to blow people out and be less stressful down the stretch,” coach Monty Williams said. 


What goes up usually comes down, and the Bulls have done plenty of both this season. The latest was indeed a downer, getting blown out on the road against the Nets.

Now, they’re just a half-game up on the Hawks for the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“We got eight left? We got eight left,” forward DeMar DeRozan said, via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Can’t depend on anyone else to win or lose. Got to let this one feel how it’s supposed to feel, use that as motivation and respond the right way.

“This game is over and done with, but you can use that frustration, use it as motivation to just get back to playing basketball. Move on from there.”

  • As Cowley wrote: “The Bulls can lose to the Wizards, feel like a dead squad walking, then get up for the playoff-bound Pacers and blow them out of the gym.

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