Stan Van Gundy on refs: LeBron James can 'do whatever he wants'

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Monday, April 18, 2016

CLEVELAND -- Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy didn't wait long before unleashing his first verbal salvo in his team's first-round playoff series against the Cavaliers.

While discussing the Pistons' composure during an interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters at the end of the first quarter of Sunday's 106-101 Game 1 loss to the Cavs, the loquacious coach directed frustration toward the officials for what he felt were missed calls that went LeBron James' way.

"A couple calls have upset our guys," Van Gundy told Salters. "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."

After the game, Van Gundy backpedaled and said the officiating was not the reason Detroit lost.

"Look, I thought it evened out really well," Van Gundy said. "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."

Van Gundy said he felt he could have done things differently.

"There's some things that I regret, myself," he said. "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."

Asked about those regrets, Van Gundy demurred.

"I'm not going into those," Van Gundy said. "Because those are game-plan things."

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