Stan Van Gundy Rips Refs: LeBron James Can ‘Do Whatever He Wants’

Stan Van Gundy, head coach of the Detroit Pistons, ripped into referees Sunday during his team’s 106-101 defeat to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs first round.


Van Gundy echoed the sentiments of many coaches over the years who felt that James gets far too many “superstar calls”. The Pistons coach told ESPN’s Lisa Salters: “A couple calls have upset our guys. They’ve got to understand, LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They’ve got to understand that.” |Final Box Score|

Stan Van Gundy backtracks…

James finished with 22 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks as the Cavs outscored Pistons 30-23 in the final quarter to prevail in a close game. Surprisingly, after the game, Van Gundy backtracked on the comments he made at the end of the first quarter.

“Look, I thought it (the officiating) evened out really well. But early on, I thought there were two pretty obvious offensive fouls down there on him. But it’s two calls in an entire game after that. Look, the refereeing had nothing to do with tonight. They did a good job. It went both ways. I thought they did a really good job. It was decided by the players on the floor, as it should be.”

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Van Gundy, who has been credited for changing the culture of the Pistons and making them a legitimate playoff threat, said his team shouldn’t be underestimated heading into Game 2 in a few days. “There’s some things that I regret, myself. I’m proud of our guys. I thought they competed hard. I think there’s some things I got to do to help them a little bit more.”

Big night for KCP…

When asked about those regrets, Van Gundy said: “I’m not going into those. Because those are game plan things.”

For the Pistons, two-guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the scoring charts with 21 points while Marcus Morris finished with 20 points and 5 assists. Andre Drummond, Detroit’s superstar center, had a disappointing night which didn’t feature any blocked shots. Tobias Harris, in his career first playoff game, finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons stay in Clevenad for Game 2 on Wednesday.