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Stan Van Gundy benches Andre Drummond for final 16:38 of Pistons’ loss to Nets for ‘bringing absolutely nothing to the game’

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Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has repeatedly praised Andre Drummond for doing the little things this season – defending energetically, working for position and attracting attention offensively even if the ball never reaches him. It didn’t take reading too deeply into Van Gundy’s comments to hear him not just complimenting Drummond, but imploring the franchise center to take pride in these tasks and continue doing them.

It didn’t work last night.

Detroit fell behind the Nets by 21, and Van Gundy sat Drummond for the final 16:38 of a 109-101 loss.

Van Gundy, via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“We gave him the first half and the first seven minutes in the second half, and he was just, in my opinion, bringing absolutely nothing to the game,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t know if he was tired or what the deal was, but he didn’t bring any energy to the game.”

Van Gundy’s assessment is partially correct. Drummond wasn’t producing as much as he usually does.

But Drummond is so talented, he can impact the game even while coasting – especially now that he has developed his passing and face-up skills. Drummond finished with six points on 3-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 25 minutes. Brook Lopez (34 points and 11 rebounds) thoroughly outplayed him, but it’s not easy to account for Lopez matching his career total – yes, career – with four 3-pointers in the game. And as hard as he played in relief of Drummond, Aron Baynes had his flaws exposed by the end of his lengthy second-half run.

The Pistons would’ve had a better chance of completing its comeback if Van Gundy re-inserted Drummond – Detroit’s best player – into the game.

But I doubt Van Gundy’s decision was so simple. I think he was trying to send a message.

If that means increasing the odds of a November loss for a better performance in April, the Pistons will probably take it. But that requires Drummond taking the message to heart.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.