The Chicago Bulls had lost three in a row and were reeling.
Then Monday night the Pistons came to town.
The Pistons had a couple ugly losses themselves leading up to Monday, and that sparked a “players only” meeting before the Chicago game, a meeting where defense and ball movement were stressed. Apparently not stressed enough. The Pistons didn’t do either of those things, and the result was a blowout 113-82 loss to a Bulls team that seemed to find its footing, at least for a night.
Stan Van Gundy went off after the game.
I love it. I’ve been in/you’ve watched so many coach interviews after a game like this where the coach tries to blow off the loss with “we just didn’t have it tonight” or some such talk, but this is what coaches are really thinking at those moments. This was a view inside a coach’s head when he’s being honest.
Van Gundy’s right, players-only meetings rarely lead to a change in behavior by players. Or, you get dramatic swings, like Reggie Jacksons’ decision seemingly pass only and not shoot in the first half Monday.
The Pistons are 12-14 this season, still in the playoff mix in the East, and they have enough talent on the roster that they should make the cut. But talent is only taking a team so far — without some toughness and passion they are going to stall out. They should find that again soon, but this team has been in a funk since Jackson’s return (did they expect him to come in and just carry things?).