SVG vows changes after Pistons blown out — again
Chicago — It’s not about a team meeting anymore.
The Pistons’ problems seem to be bigger than that.
Now, it’s just about figuring out what to do to fix them.
All of the Pistons’ pock marks were on display, for the third straight game, on the heels of their players-only meeting following Saturday’s blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers.
This time, the Pistons fell into a 12-point deficit in the first five minutes of the game — and a 35-point hole by halftime — and were embarrassed, 113-82, on Monday night at the United Center.
“Team meeting my (expletive). Like I said before, that stuff means nothing; it’s what you do on the court. Talking is easy,” Van Gundy said in a terse, two-minute postgame interview.
“I have nothing to say. It was a disgusting performance by all of us, me included. It was unprofessional, embarrassing, humiliating, whatever you want to say. It was terrible.”
It’s the third straight lopsided loss for the Pistons (14-16), who embark on a daunting stretch this week, with home games against the Memphis Grizzlies (18-11) on Wednesday, Golden State Warriors (24-4) on Friday and Cleveland Cavaliers (19-6) next Monday.
They’ll have a lot of work to do before then, just trying to ensure that things don’t go downhill quickly and they don’t lose the locker room. Saturday’s players-only meeting came after a 15-point loss to the Indiana Pacers, as players griped about shot distribution and trying to find a groove with Reggie Jackson’s return to the lineup in the last eight games.
Jackson seemed like he hadn’t returned in the first half on Monday, attempting only three shots. He finished 2-of-5 for seven points with three assists in 24 minutes. Jackson didn’t have a field-goal attempt in the first quarter, playing all 12 minutes, but the lack of aggressiveness on offense was clear.
“That wasn’t us — that was him,” Van Gundy said.
It didn’t make much of a difference.
The Bulls (14-13) shot the Pistons out of the game early, making six of their first seven field goals, on the way to a 12-2 lead. In the spurt, Dwyane Wade had a jumper, Taj Gibson (16 points) followed with a baseline jumper, Robin Lopez and Jimmy Butler added a jumper each.
The Pistons finally got on the board with a putback by Andre Drummond, but Wade (13 points) followed with a floater, Lopez with a hook and Wade capped the flurry with a basket in transition.
The Bulls kept the pace going, with a turnaround jumper by Gibson and a 3-pointer by Butler, boosting the lead to 21-6 at the 5:49 mark. The Pistons traded baskets through the first quarter and Chicago finished on an 8-4 spurt, with a flurry by Doug McDermott (13 points).
The first quarter ended with a 35-19 Bulls lead — three points off the most points the Pistons have allowed in an opening period this season. The Bulls shot 81 percent (17-of-21) in the first quarter, while the Pistons were 42 percent, including just 1-of-6 on 3-pointers. The Bulls had a decided advantage on the boards as well, 10-4.
“No fight and that’s the hardest part. We were backed into a corner and didn’t come out swinging. Just laid there,” Jackson said. “We need to go out there and have pride and actually play defense.”
In the second quarter, the Bulls stretched the lead, with an opening 10-0 run, including a jumper by Cristiano Felicio, a 3-pointer by Nikola Mirotic (13 points), a steal and dunk by Wade and a 3-pointer by McDermott. That made it 45-19 with 9:37 left in the half — and it was essentially over from there.
The lack of defense is confusing and the problems appear to be deeper than just the issues laid out in the team meeting.
“We went into the Washington game on Friday night as the No. 2 defensive team in the league,” Van Gundy said. “Now we have three games where we can’t stop anybody. I don’t have any explanation for that.”
The Pistons answered with seven straight points to get the lead to 45-26, but the Bulls didn’t relent, with an alley-oop from Wade to McDermott and a 3-pointer by Mirotic. Wade followed with a three-point play and Lopez (14 points) added a hook for a 27-point lead.
The Bulls pushed the lead to 69-34 at halftime, with a 12-2 run to finish the quarter. The Pistons went without a field goal for the final 3:51 of the period and Gibson got hot for the Bulls, with eight of points in the spurt.
Rajon Rondo was scoreless in the first half, but finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and 14 assists. In the third period alone, Rondo had 10 point and four assists, helping put the game out of reach.
The Pistons tried to chip away after halftime, as Drummond (nine points, four rebounds) hit a hook and split a pair of free throws. Jackson hit one of two free throws also and Tobias Harris (10 points) hit a jumper during the 6-2 start for the Pistons.
Rondo got going with a made basket off a goaltending call and later added a 3-pointer and Butler followed with two free throws for an 84-46 lead. From there, Van Gundy pulled the starters for the remainder of the game.
Jon Leuer led the Pistons with 16 points and five rebounds. Leuer missed the loss to the Pacers because of back spasms and was questionable to play Monday, but was able to play 21 minutes, going 7-of-9 from the field.
Stanley Johnson added seven points and Boban Marjanovic six points.