Stan Van Gundy went on a rant about the officiating during the Pistons' loss to Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Rod Beard, Detroit News
Portland, Ore. — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy likely had made his mind up before addressing the media after Saturday night’s loss at Portland that he was going to blast the officiating.
That usually comes with a hefty fine — the only unknown was how much the fine would be.
Van Gundy found out Sunday.
The NBA announced a $15,000 fine for Van Gundy for publicly criticizing the officials.
“A big part of (the Blazers’) defense — they play very hard; I don’t mean to take anything away from them,” Van Gundy said Saturday, “but when you can get away with playing like that and get screwed that badly by the officials, your defense is going to be pretty good.”
Van Gundy pointed to a couple of specific calls, including rookie Luke Kennard drawing contact on a back-cut but not getting a foul call. There were other drives by Blake Griffin that Van Gundy cited, where he drew contact but didn’t get a whistle.
It’s been an ongoing issue with players and officials — and now coaches — in the NBA this season, but it’s coming to a head, with New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry — a former Pistons coach — also giving a fiery rant on Saturday night in their loss to the Houston Rockets.
“(Officials say) ‘If I saw it, I would have called it’ — well, you know what? Your damn job is to see it,” Van Gundy said. “Referees, I love that. That’s an excuse: ‘I didn’t see it.’
“Why the hell do we have you out there? (Kennard) is the guy cutting — that’s where the ball is being passed. It’s not happening on the weak side of the floor. It’s embarrassing for them and for the league that they’re not going to make that call.”
The Pistons (30-39) are in the midst of a six-game western road trip, having dropped the first three. They play a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings on Monday and at Phoenix on Tuesday before finishing the trip at Houston on Thursday.
There was more encouraging news about Reggie Jackson’s recovery from a right-ankle sprain, which has caused him to miss the last 36 games. He did some 4-on-4 work in practice and could be back in the lineup this week.
The Pistons play a back-to-back on Monday in Sacramento and Tuesday in Phoenix, finishing the trip on Thursday in Houston, plus a home game Saturday against the Chicago Bulls. Maybe later in the week is most probable for a potential return.
“A lot of it is what happens (Monday) but we’re hoping maybe this week he’ll play, at some point,” Van Gundy said. “I wouldn’t play him both (Monday and Tuesday). He may play sometime this week.”
With the Pistons sitting 6½ games behind for the final playoff spot, it’s unlikely that Jackson’s return could help make a postseason push, but it could provide a benefit nonetheless.
“I think any time a guy can play some, it’s a benefit. I don’t know how much of a benefit in terms of trying to make decisions based on it,” Van Gundy said. “His minutes would certainly be limited at least initially because we don’t have that many games left.
“I don’t how big a benefit, but it would be a benefit.”
PISTONS AT KINGS
Tip-off: 10 p.m. Monday, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, Calif.
Outlook: The Kings (23-48) had a pair of impressive wins over the Heat and Warriors before falling to the Jazz on Saturday night. The Pistons (30-39) have lost 13 of their last 16 games, including Saturday at Portland.