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Van Gundy: ‘Everything an option’ for dealing with Love

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Pistons' Tobias Harris tries to defend the Cavs' Kevin Love.

Auburn Hills — In his pregame planning, coach Stan Van Gundy knew Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was going to give the Pistons a whole lot of Kevin Love in their first-round playoff series.

Van Gundy just wasn’t sure how and when.

Well, they saw a whole lot of Love in the Cavaliers victory — he finished with 28 points (10-for-22, 4-for-8 3-pointers) and 13 rebounds.

That sent Van Gundy and his staff back to the lab to try to make adjustments for Game 2 on Wednesday.

“We have other adjustments, too — it wasn’t just that,” Van Gundy said Monday. “That’s certainly one. They hurt us in the post a little bit, straight post-ups and some switches and then the pick-and-roll with LeBron are always troublesome, whether he’s handling the ball or setting the pick.

“We just want to have a couple things to go to.”

Love averaged 24 points against the Pistons during the regular season, so it’s not a secret.

But at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Love is a mismatch because Pistons center Andre Drummond isn’t quick enough to stick with him and Tobias Harris isn’t as strong.

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Van Gundy hinted he would consider some other possibilities — such as Anthony Tolliver (6-foot-8, 240 pounds) or doing something different with Harris.

“Everything is an option,” Van Gundy said. “The idea is you have a lot of options; you have to try to find the best one. You have a lot of things you have to do. Besides guarding their first shot; you have to be able to rebound the ball and put pressure on them on the other end of the floor.”

The Pistons didn’t seem to have many issues in the first three-plus quarters, taking a seven-point lead in the early minutes of the fourth. But things fell apart down the stretch with some missed shots and what Van Gundy deemed bad play-calling on his part.

Although he said during a television interview he was angry about a couple calls the referees didn’t make on LeBron James, he said he was generally happy with the officiating — except for some calls in the first quarter.

Some of it is the perceived star treatment for James, and another is the transition to playoff-level basketball.

“That was my point,” Van Gundy said. “I said our guys were frustrated with a couple of the calls. They have to understand this is the way it is.”

Much of the remaining prep time during practice will be spent on hammering out a game plan that takes the lessons from Game 1 into account.

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One of Van Gundy’s laments during his postgame news conference was some of the decisions he made didn’t work.

“We just need to be better in terms of some very basic things, getting back in transition, getting matched up, blocking out and rebounding,” he said. “Game-plan mistakes that we made yesterday and then we walked through some of the adjustments we want to make.

“It’ll take us another day. It’s not that complicated but it’s different than what we’ve done and we just walked through it. I don’t think they’ll have any problem. I’m not smart enough to come up with anything really complex.”