No tanks: Van Gundy expects Pistons to ‘play hard’

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — It’s not looking good for the Pistons’ chances to make the playoffs.

They were three games behind the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, who are tied for the final spot, with only seven games remaining. And after losing eight of their last nine games, they’re not trending toward closing that gap at all.

After the loss to the Heat on Tuesday night, the Pistons’ odds slipped considerably, and although they’re not mathematically eliminated, they’re certainly not in a good position. Even given that situation, coach Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons aren’t giving up on the season and looking to turn things around Thursday night against the Brooklyn Nets, who have won both meetings this season.

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“I expect (us) to come out and play hard and well. We’ll see what happens, but that’s what I expect,” Van Gundy said after Thursday morning’s shootaround. “It’s been really tough and I understand everybody’s disappointed in our locker room. We got ourselves in this situation and we have to play seven games hard and well, and whatever happens happens.

“We’ve got to take care of our business over the last seven games.”

Four of those seven games are on the road and after the Nets game, the Pistons will have just two more at The Palace before they move downtown next season to Little Caesars Arena.

There’s a sense of wanting to finish the season on a strong note — playoffs or not — but there won’t be any tanking or experimenting at this point. That would include using unusual lineups or seeing more playing time for rookies Henry Ellenson or Michael Gbinije or even big man Boban Marjanovic.

“Right now, we’re playing to try to win and stay in this with whatever small shot we have,” Van Gundy said. “Until then, there’s no thought of looking at things for next year. Right now we’re doing whatever we think is best to try to get the win.”