Van Gundy on Pistons: “We’re really messed up right now.”

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Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t mince words following Detroit’s 106-96 loss to the Lakers Tuesday night.

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“We’re really messed up right now, I mean we’re really messed up as a team,” Van Gundy said. “Lot of dilemmas. Lot of guys feeling pressure or whatever. But we’re really not right mentally right now. That’s what we talked about. That’s got to change before anything else does.”

Last night’s loss was the ninth in a row for the Pistons, who now stand at 3-15, with the winless 76ers being the only team that stands between them and the basement of the Eastern Conference.

The Pistons hung with the Lakers for most of the first half, trailing by just one point at intermission. However, L.A. turned it up in the third quarter, outscoring the Pistons 35-20, out-battling Detroit for loose balls and offensive rebounds in a scene that has become all too familiar in the early goings this season.

Van Gundy addressed the team’s effort.

“The real problem, in my opinion – and I told them this, so I’m not speaking behind their back – I’ll never say something to you I haven’t said to them – we don’t play hard enough,” he said. “There’s too many nights – in fact, almost every night – where the other team plays harder and with more energy than we do. You don’t deserve to win like that. You don’t.”

Detroit trailed by 16 entering the fourth quarter against the Lakers, at which point Van Gundy opted to make some drastic changes – giving second year forward Luigi Datome his first appearance of the season. Datome responded with seven points in the frame, briefly sparking a late comeback attempt and forcing Lakers coach Byron Scott to re-insert his starters with just minutes to play.

According to MLive’s David Mayo, Van Gundy hinted that Datome may be receiving more opportunities in the near future. And while he appreciated the extended on-court opportunity, Datome remains fully aware of the situation at hand.

Luigi Datome
Van Gundy suggested Datome (lurking) may see more opportunities moving forward. (photo: Alyssa Blayney)

“Nobody’s happy,” Datome said. “Who is playing, who is not playing, nobody’s happy. Nobody can be happy and everybody is conscious of the situation right now. There’s only one way — working hard, staying positive, staying together. Nobody has the magic wand to solve the situation. Only with hard work, sticking together and keep on trusting each other, the system, and keep on counting on each other.”

The Pistons will look to avoid a double-digit losing streak tonight in Boston. Van Gundy believes it’ll require a stark change in mindset, citing the differences between regular season and preseason (where Detroit went 5-2).

“(In the regular season), you’re worried about your playing time, you’re worried about your stats, you’ve got everybody in the world in your ear. And now, you don’t want your guy to score, so you don’t rotate as much and help each other defensively. Offensively, the ball doesn’t move quite as crisply. That’s what I mean. We’re messed up right now. We’re messed up.”

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Posted by Ryan Van Dusen
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Ryan is a Farmington native who enjoys all things basketball, particularly when it involves the Detroit Pistons. He spends much of his free time combing through NBA archives and curating footage of meaningless late-90's regular season performances for mass consumption.