Coming into tonight’s game, the Orlando Magic were on an eight-game winning streak and looking to tie a franchise-record for most consecutive regular season wins with nine. But catching the Charlotte Bobcats, a team without All-Star forward Gerald Wallace, on a back-to-back proved to be too much for the Magic. After the game, head coach Stan Van Gundy bemoaned Orlando's poor play. For the Magic, it was just one of those nights.
I was able to speak with Van Gundy amongst the media, as well as Mickael Pietrus, and Dwight Howard. Here’s what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
Could you talk about Mickael Pietrus’ performance tonight?
I thought M.P. played well, yeah. I thought M.P. … on the offensive end, I thought M.P., Vince [Carter], and Dwight [Howard] all played well but it was pretty much a three-man show. Nobody else could really get anything going and so it’s just not enough.
More after the jump.
With shots not falling for Jameer Nelson or Rashard Lewis, did you feel the need to be more aggressive on offense?
Oh, no, just trying to play my game. I mean, they called my name and I tried to be extra-focused on that end of the floor to help my team so hopefully we come back strong on Wednesday [against the San Antonio Spurs].
Do you see the Charlotte Bobcats as a possible playoff matchup? Or are you even thinking about that, at this point?
No, we’re not thinking about that. We’re thinking about the way we’re playing, how we have to share the ball inside and out, and then the most important thing for us is try to get into a rhythm – all of us – going into the playoffs.
On Wednesday, do you guys plan on changing up anything?
No, I mean, we didn’t change anything when we were winning games. I mean, we just have to do the same thing and have fresh legs.
Could you talk about Stephen Jackson’s impact on the Bobcats? That’s a former teammate of yours.
That’s why they traded for him because he’s a great player. He’s going to get it done, no matter what people are going to say. He’s going to get it done and I played with him in Golden State and he’s a great player. He’s really carried the Bobcats through the season.
You’ve talked about being on the All-Defensive team in the past. Does that remain a goal of yours?
Yeah, that will always be my goal, to make it to the [All-NBA First team] defensively. I’m trying to focus on that but I can help my team in many ways. On offense, on defense, I’m just trying to enjoy my time on the floor and do everything I can to win games because in the NBA, it’s not easy.
Could you talk about Charlotte’s defensive gameplan, aside from them double-teaming you in the post? Was there anything else that caught your eye?
That’s about it. That’s about it. I think we just missed a lot of shots tonight. We didn’t do well, as a team, rebounding and we didn’t capitalize on just the little things. Overall, if we would have just made some of those shots and gotten some of those rebounds, it would have been a different outcome.
Do you see more and more teams gambling by doubling you in the post and forcing your teammates to make the shots from the perimeter?
Well, they have been doing it all season. They would rather us shoot threes than get their bigs in foul trouble. We understand that. Guys are going to knock down shots. I think M.P. came out tonight and had an excellent game without Matt [Barnes] being in the lineup and we’re just going to move forward from there.
Do you think officials have a quick trigger with you, with regards to technical fouls?
Well, I think sometimes, as a ref, they may feel as if we’re trying to show them up when that’s not the case sometimes. We all understand that they make mistakes also, and our emotions sometimes get the best of us. Sometimes I think there are techs that shouldn’t be techs but we just have to abide by the rules.
I know it seems cliché but was tonight an off-night?
You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. We’re not going to win 100% of the games. We expect to win, we want to win but we all understand that these are NBA players, they’ve been playing in this league for a while, and you never can get too up when you win and you never can get too down when you lose.