‘Who cares about Detroit?’: Durant joins the fray
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook isn’t the only player who took exception to Reggie Jackson’s celebration in the final seconds of the Pistons’ 88-82 win Tuesday.
“It was bush league, in my opinion,” said Durant. “Jumping up and down, running around. I understand you're happy you won the game, but our whole team didn't play. We would've beat the hell out of them if it did.”
Neither Durant nor forward Serge Ibaka, who both received a rest day, played against the Pistons
“I wanted to play against Detroit, for sure, but you know, it's Detroit,” Durant said. “Who cares about Detroit?”
After Aron Baynes secured a rebound and was fouled with 1.1 seconds left, Jackson began circling the court and motioning to the crowd to make some noise. Jackson then exchanged words with Thunder center Steven Adams while Baynes shot two free throws.
"I know I don't talk like that, but that (ticked) me off," Durant said. "But what can I do about it? Some guys are who they are. They won the game, congrats."
Jackson brushed off the notion that he enjoyed beating his former team more than any other opponent. Rather, he was glad the win helped put the Pistons in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Entering play Thursday, the Pistons (40-35) lead the eighth-seeded Pacers by a half-game and ninth-place Bulls by 2.5 games.
“I just enjoyed getting the win and controlling our destiny,” Jackson said following the team’s practice Thursday. “Just continue to position ourselves to ultimately be where we wanted to be at the beginning of the season. We’re still trying to make the playoffs, still got a chance to get there and just happy we got the opportunity.”
When asked about Westbrook’s criticism, which came after the game, and why Jackson hasn’t been publicly outspoken about the Thunder organization, Jackson said: “I played there for three and half years, had some good memories, had some ups and downs, had some battles. Not really much going on now. I’m just here trying to find a way to get as many wins as possible and hopefully lead my team to the playoffs.”
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Jackson’s reaction wasn’t out of the norm.
“That kind of stuff happens in every NBA game. I haven’t been in an NBA game yet where somebody wasn’t talking or doing something. Haven’t been in one yet,” Van Gundy said. “Do I like it? I don’t, but that’s a player’s thing. I didn’t think there was anything over the top or anything else, so there was nothing to address.
“There was nobody cheap-shotting anybody or anything else. The incident in OKC earlier this year with the fan, we talked about that one; that’s different. On the court, that’s between those guys.”
Home stand blues
While the Pistons have gone 6-2 during their current nine-game home stand, Jackson has hit a rough patch offensively. He’s shooting 35.2 percent (43-for-122) from the field and 23.7 percent (9-for-38) from 3-point range while averaging 14.5 points, well below his season marks (43.6 percent, 35.2 percent, 18.5 points).
Van Gundy said Jackson’s struggles stem from pressing too much.
“I just think he needs to not put so much pressure on himself and feel like he needs to carry the load,” Van Gundy said. “Just play, make the plays that are there in front of him, throw the ball to open people, take good shots and all of that and not worry as much. I think at times he puts a lot of pressure on himself to feel like he has to make every play.”
Another reason has been a more concerted effort by opposing teams to trap and blitz Jackson.
“I think guys are trying to get the ball out of my hands early, trying to take Andre (Drummond) out of pick-and-roll situations,” Jackson said. “I’m drawing two, Andre is drawing another one or two in the paint, so when we kick it out and make plays, we just hope those (wings) are ready and make the defense pay with the long ball to open up the lane for Andre and myself.”
Crossing the line
Several Pistons sounded off on the controversial video of the Lakers' Nick Young that recently surfaced online and was apparently taken by teammate D’Angelo Russell.
Van Gundy said while Russell is a rookie, he doesn’t think he’s “too young to know better on that one.”
“It’s an unbelievable situation. I mean that. I’m not shocked too often in the NBA, but that one shocked me and that’s just something you don’t see,” Van Gundy said. “Guys usually keep each other’s business pretty well under wraps and respect each other’s privacy, so that one was surprising.”
Jackson said with the NBA being a “fraternity,” he doesn’t think Russell will be welcomed in other locker rooms anytime soon.
“It’s a very tough position but, I’m fortunate on my end I don’t have to go through it,” Jackson said. “Everybody has their own trials and tribulations, so that’s something he’s going to have to figure out.”
Marcus Morris said Russell’s actions were the ultimate breach of trust.
“It’s just something that you don’t want to see in the NBA. Like a lot of guys say, it’s a brotherhood and things that are personal business stay personal,” Morris said. “Me personally, I’d probably never say another word to him.
“It’s definitely tough to come back from and you trust guys. You’re around them all year and I’m pretty sure Nick Young knows some things about him that he’d never say.”