Stan Van Gundy fires back at Suns’ Markieff Morris


There are times when things get heated on the basketball court. Players say things they don’t mean while engaged in emotional battles, and on-court confrontations often cloud off-court postgame comments.

That appears to have been the case with Markieff Morris, who had some strong words for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after the Suns beat the Pistons on Wednesday.

“KCP got it and you know he doesn’t have any heart so we knew he was going to miss it,” Morris said, following a game where Caldwell-Pope had a chance to give his team a lead with just a second left.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy wasn’t willing to sit idly by while one of his players was slandered.

From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“I’m not quite sure – maybe he knows – I’m not quite sure what Markieff Morris has accomplished in the league that gets him to the point of mouthing off,” Van Gundy said after today’s practice. “I mean, I don’t like the mouthing off anyway.

“It seems to me you should at least participate in a playoff game before you do. But maybe not, maybe that’s not the standard anymore.”

The verbal volleys probably are because the two had to be separated after getting chest-to-chest to trash talk in the second quarter.

“A lot of emotions were running,” Caldwell-Pope said. “We exchanged a few words with each other. So obviously, out of frustration, he said that.”

I like Van Gundy sticking up for his player in this way, and I like the overall testiness of the exchange.

Professional basketball is entertainment above all else, so some good clean trash talk only adds to the experience.

We’ll see if any of this carries over to the next meeting between the two teams, which is slated to take place Dec. 12 in Phoenix.