Pistons' Van Gundy slams defense, rebounding
New York — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy credited his team for the way they fought back in Wednesday’s 105-102 loss to the Knicks.
But he also wasted no time expressing his disgust with the defense and rebounding.
“It was terrible,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll be able to go and look at 10 or 12 that were just lack of effort plays, lack of focus plays. You can’t afford that on the road and we continue to do that. Our rebounding is not good.”
The Pistons were outrebounded 52-40 — including 19-8 on offense. Knicks center Joakim Noah (seven) and forward Kristaps Porzingis (four) combined for 11 offensive rebounds that contributed to 15 second-chance points.
And that was with Andre Drummond back in the lineup after he missed a game with a sprained ankle. Drummond had nine rebounds while forwards Tobias Harris and Jon Leuer combined for 19.
“It’s frustrating,” said Drummond, whose team faces the Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Cleveland. “I didn’t do my job. I have to slap myself on the wrist and be prepared for (the Cavaliers).”
The Pistons are 5-0 at home, averaging 50.6 rebounds and holding opponents to 85.6 points on 36.9 percent shooting. On the road, though, the Pistons are 1-6, averaging 38.3 rebounds and giving up 105 points on 47.4 percent shooting.
And, after ranking second in the NBA in rebounding margin last season at plus-3.8, the Pistons are 20th at minus-2.1.
“It’s just something that we have to have a focus on,” Harris said. “When we come into away games, we have to have more of a defensive focus and let the offense play its part. We need be locked in better defensively and that’s all of us.”
Van Gundy recognizes issue
Knicks president Phil Jackson was criticized by Cavaliers star LeBron James this week for his use of the word “posse” to describe James’ friends and business associates in a recent ESPN interview.
During the interview, Jackson recalled a time when James wanted his former team, the Miami Heat, to stay an extra night in Cleveland during a road trip.
“They don’t do overnights; teams just don’t,” Jackson said. “You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.”
James and longtime business associate Maverick Carter claim the term has racial undertones and is coded language directed toward minorities.
Van Gundy was asked about the issue, and admitted he has used the word.
“I’ve never used that word publicly with anybody, but I have used it in talking to people I know and things like that,” Van Gundy said. “And it has never been in conjunction with a white player. And I think, at the time where you’re going to call out other people on attitudes, I think you need to be willing to look in the mirror and call yourself out.”
With leading scorer Reggie Jackson out, forward Marcus Morris stepped up early to help offset the lost offensive production.
Through eight games, Morris was averaging 16.4 points on 45.9 percent shooting (50-for-109), both above his career averages of 10.2 points and 43.1 percent shooting.
But his numbers have significantly dipped the past four games.
His shooting percentage has dropped to 34 percent (16-for-47), including 20 percent (3-for-15) from 3-point range, and his scoring output has nearly been cut in half (8.8 points).
Pistons at Cavaliers
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Outlook: The Pistons close out a stretch of six of seven on the road. ... The Cavaliers are 6-1 at home and led by Kyrie Irving (23.9 points), LeBron James (23.4 points, 9.6 assists, 8.9 rebounds) and Kevin Love (21 points, 10.8 rebounds).