By: Will Burchfield
The Pistons won their third straight game Sunday night, 114-110 over the Magic, but Stan Van Gandy was anything but pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m not happy,” he said. “I understand the sentiment that it’s all about winning and you got the win — that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about what you bring to the game. How you play, the effort you bring, the unselfishness you bring, and then the results take care of themselves.
“I’ve had games this year where I was proud of our guys in games they lost. I mean, we played a very good first half. Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver played very well, and we didn’t try at all in the second half. I’m not happy with that at all.”
Detroit was up by 17 at the half and by 24 with 7:00 to play. But the Magic went on a 19-0 run over the next 5:20 to cut the Pistons’ lead to 105-100. What should have been a breeze down the stretch was suddenly a grind.
Van Gundy felt his players were lax for more than just Orlando’s fourth-quarter spurt.
“They had 67 points in the second half. I didn’t think they gave any effort in the third quarter, either, they were just able to score the ball. We didn’t bring anything to the second half,” Van Gundy said.
Reggie Jackson, who had 17 points but six turnovers, was asked if the Pistons were indeed lacking effort in the second half. He hesitated before pointing to something else.
“Focus,” he said. “I think the focus might have been lacking. Long game, 48 minutes. You always wish you could play all 48, but thats everybody’s goal. Try to get better at it. I don’t think anybody play all 48 minutes. It’s tough, but our focus could have been a little bit better. They continued to battle, that’s the NBA.”
Were the Pistons too comfortable with their big fourth-quarter lead?
“If that’s what you want to call it, sure,” Jackson said. “I think they just made a run. We had some careless turnovers, they continued to play and made a run.”
One player who felt the brunt of Van Gundy’s ire was Luke Kennard. The rookie got his second start of the season, but was subbed out one minute into the game and finished with just three points in 15 minutes.
“Luke screwed up twice in the first two plays of the game. Mental mistakes. I just wasn’t going to let it go,” Van Gundy said. “Screwed up a defensive assignment at one end and screwed up the play at the other end. It was enough.”
Across the board, though, it was the team’s compete level that rankled Van Gundy on Sunday night.
“You bring effort, period. All the time,” he said. “That’s all.”