Stan Van Gundy was fuming. And he had a right to be. The Pistons lost their third in a row to the 14-18 Knicks mainly because of a poor defensive effort.
As SVG pointed out in his post-game comments, the Knicks never scored less than 25 points a quarter last night. The Knicks shot 54.4% from the field and 50% from three. The saying is that the NBA is a make-or-miss league, and I can say that for the Knicks it was much easier to make shots when they are wide open. Dave Hogg put in a much clearer perspective on Twitter last night as well.
#Pistons allowed a season-worst 1.19 points per possession tonight. Knicks are ranked 23rd in offensive efficiency.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) December 30, 2015
if you look at the box scores of the previous three games, you can see that defense has been an issue. The Pistons haven't held a team to under 20 points in a quarter since the 2nd quarter against Atlanta.
Outside of KCP and Marcus Morris, the rest of the Pistons showed up with lazy defense the majority of the night. Reggie allowed Jose Calderon to get hot from three-point land, where he squashed a Pistons lead with three consecutive triples. Calderon has struggled all year, and Reggie seemingly gifted him with wide open looks. If Reggie wasn't closing out, help was late, and it re-ignited a dominant Calderon.
Andre Drummond mailed in possibly his worst defensive performance of the year. I can recall a handful of occasions where he simply stood with his hands up while Robin Lopez got easy jump hooks and layups. While Andre has been having an All-Star caliber year, there has always been some left to be desired on the defensive end. Put simply, he's never been a player known to be a rim protector. There have been flashes of defensive progress this season, but they have all but disappeared the last few games. I don't know if it's him being afraid of getting in foul trouble or effort, but the issue needs to be fixed ASAP.
I could go down the list with Ersan getting dream-shook by Porzingis, Stanley Johnson being slow to help, Baynes, Tolliver, and Jennings bringing not much else to the table. But I'll do what SVG didn't - this Knicks loss is on Reggie and Drummond.
The team goes as they go, and in order for the team to start winning on a consistent basis, both have to put in consistent effort on a nightly basis. This doesn't mean Reggie needs to drop 20/10 and Andre needs to have 20-20 games every night, but there needs to be communication and equal effort from both players.
After Stan's comments, Reggie effectively called out his teammates saying that they we're not putting in the effort together, and not communicating together on defense. With the Minnesota Timberwolves in town on New Years Eve, the Pistons have a great opportunity to put a stop to this troubling defensive trend.
Reggie also said he was sick of losing. Me too.