The Orlando Magic may have defeated the Detroit Pistons to avenge a loss that occurred a few days prior at The Palace of Auburn Hills but head coach Stan Van Gundy was not pleased with his team's performance. Van Gundy made it poignantly clear during the presser that he felt the Magic were content to hang on to a lead, rather than finish the Pistons off, when the opportunity presented itself. Van Gundy pointed out that the Boston Celtics are a squad that does its job, in closing out games, and he doesn't feel Orlando does that so far in comparison. If you're wondering if that sounded like a rant from the ol' coach, that's exactly what it was.
I was able to ask a few questions to Van Gundy amongst the media, as well as speak with Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus one-on-one, and Dwight Howard. Here's what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
Seemed like the game got more physical as the night progressed. Could you talk about that?
Yeah, we're not good in a physical game. We got to get tougher. We got to get a lot tougher.
You guys got off to a quick start in the first quarter, but things began to change after that. Could you talk about what happened?
Yeah, we didn't play well. I thought our bench came in and didn't play well. Then our starters came back in the second quarter and they didn't play well. Again, I thought we were pretty content to try to hang on and win a regular season game.
You played Jason Williams and Jameer Nelson together in the third quarter. Was that based on matchups or foul trouble?
Both, foul trouble, matchups. They go to a small lineup and we just don't have a lot of perimeter people so yeah, it was based on both.
More after the jump.
It seemed like the game got more physical as the night progressed. What are your thoughts on that?
When you're playing against a team like that, they got nothing to lose. They're just going to fight to the end. It was just a weird game.
It appeared like there was a lot of whistles and it didn't seem like the game had any flow to it. Could you talk about that?
There wasn't, that's what I'm saying. That's how it was when we were in Detroit.
Is that just a matter of the opponent and the way they play?
Well, Jameer [Nelson] said when we got to the locker room, he said [different] styles make fights so I guess that's what it is, their style.
From Tuesday to today, did the gameplan change at all?
Same gameplan, just like I said earlier, we just got to put our foot on their neck and twist. Man, we just can't let their team get confidence because that's what happened. In the end of the game, they build confidence and they start playing and everything is going their way.
Stan talked about how the Boston Celtics seem to do a good job of taking teams out when they have the chance.
Boston is Boston, we're still a work in progress. We got a team full of new players, they already got their chemistry down. We're still working on ours and we still got a ways to go.
It seemed like the referees blew a lot of whistles and there wasn't much of a flow to the game. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, we have to do a better job of keeping people off the free-throw line. I think that's been a problem the whole season. Admittedly, that's been a weakness of ours.
Was it frustrating to play a team like the Pistons, a squad that's pesky and doesn't back down?
Well, we expected that. We've had battles with them for the last few years so that's their make-up as a team. We expected that.
Since you've been starting, it seems like you've been getting into a nice rhythm offensively. Could you talk about that?
Yeah, with the exception of tonight, it's been better in terms of just being in a rhythm. Again, I was saying to Tim [Potvak] earlier, that I don't feel like I have to be anybody else. I just have to be me. I'm not replacing Vince [Carter] or trying to be like Vince. Vince is one of the best players in the league so I'm just trying to make the offense work, be a ball mover, and take shots when they're there.
Everyone talks about your shooting, but you also do a good job of passing the ball and rebounding the ball. Is that something you think people overlook?
I think I'm starting to get recognition for that. I know that the coaching staff here recognizes my passing ability, my ability to make the offense work. I'm a ball mover, I take shots when they're there, I'm going to be aggressive, but I understand how to make a play.
It seemed like there were a lot of whistles in the game and there wasn't much flow to what was going on the court. Could you talk about that?
It was just a nasty game. I think, as a team, we have to stop fouling because our offense is less effective when we're taking the ball under the net every time so we got to play better defense and play without fouling and I know that's something coach [Stan Van Gundy] has been trying to stress to us so it's something we need to work on but we got a win and that's the most important thing.
Once Ryan Anderson went down, did depth begin to become an issue?
Yeah, depth. We're missing an All-Star in Rashard [Lewis], an All-Star in Vince [Carter], and now Ryan [Anderson] goes down so it really makes us short-handed. When you have three or four guys in foul trouble, too, we just had to gut it out and get a win.
How beneficial are these type of games are? They're not easy, they're physical, what does it do for a team?
It's good, like I said before, it was an ugly win, it was a grind-out win, but the most important thing is we got a win. There's a lot of things we need to improve on. Like I said earlier on the defensive end, we need to play without fouling. We need to get better shots at some point but when it's all said and done, we won.
Do you see any difference playing in the Eastern Conference as opposed to playing in the Western Conference?
Not necessarily, I mean, everyone says that the Eastern Conference is more physical but I've always been a physical player myself.
It seems like you got great hands, stealing, rebounding, is football a little part of that?
Yeah, I just try to anticipate. I turned the ball over four times myself so I just try to get into those passing lanes and use fast hands, particularly just try to create some extra possessions for our team.
I know that tonight was a grind-it-out win, could you talk about the game and how physical Detroit was?
Well, it was physical but I think the most important thing is we respond back and we got a win, that's the most important thing. Just get a win and move on. Sometimes, in the NBA, we're not going to be perfect but at least we're right there and we just have to correct a couple of things defensively. Offensively, we're where we should be but it's one of those nights in the NBA, we don't know what a team got for you so that's why at the end of the day, we got a win.
It seemed like there were a ton of whistles tonight and there wasn't much flow to the game. Could you talk about that?
Well, yeah, it was alright. A win is a win so you can depict how you want to win. It's life, just got to go through it and make sure you get better.
Defensively, what are you guys still trying to improve on?
Oh, everything, everything. We want to be a great defensive team so I think we got a great defensive player on the team [Dwight Howard], we just try to improve ourselves every game and try to get better.
What type of challenges do the Oklahoma City Thunder present for you guys?
Yeah, it's going to be a running team, very exciting, the opportunity to play is very exciting. Coming into their town, we just have to be ready. Our goal is to win a championship so we have to come out, get ready from the get-go.
You guys are the defending Eastern Conference champions. Have you seen a difference in how teams approach you from last year to this year? Do you feel like you got a target on your back?
No, we were the East champions but that doesn't mean anything so what it means to us is that we were close but we have to work hard to make it not be close, but win all the way so I haven't seen a difference and our focus here is to win a championship.
It seemed like there were a ton of whistles tonight and not much of a flow to the game. Could you talk about that?
Fouls. We fouled a lot. We didn't get a chance to run like we did in the first half so we got to get better in that area.
It looks like you're very patient in the post, dealing with double and triple teams. Could you talk about your play in particular?
Well, that's what it's all about. Just being patient in the post, getting ready for the double-team to happen, and throwing it out to the open guys. I think, when we play that way, we play well.
What does it mean to you to be the all-time leader in block shots for the Orlando Magic? It that something that holds significance to you, as a player?
I think it's cool. I got to get some more. *laughs*
So that nobody else will be close.
Is it tough to close out a team, with all the foul trouble?
It's not tough. As a team, we got to do it. No matter who's on the floor, foul trouble or not, we got to be able to close those teams out.