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Stan Van Gundy on Pistons after loss to Knicks: “We were just terrible”

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 19: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons looks on during the second half of the Pistons 98-86 loss to the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on February 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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The Pistons are in the middle of a playoff chase in the East — after Saturday night they are the nine seed, a game back of the Chicago Bulls (a team that just got Jimmy Butler back). In that situation, every game is a playoff game for the Pistons the rest of the way.

You couldn’t tell that from Detroit’s 102-89 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden Saturday.

Stan Van Gundy didn’t pull any punches about his team’s performance afterwards, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“We should all be disappointed; it was ridiculous,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We were just terrible. We didn’t bring any energy to the game. We didn’t play well at either end. It was an embarrassing performance....

“They dominate us,” Van Gundy said. “We can’t play Arron Afflalo and Carmelo Anthony. We have nobody to play those two guys, and Robin Lopez always plays great against Andre.”

That’s true, the physical Lopez always gives Andre Drummond a challenge. Still Drummond had 21 points and 16 rebounds, plus Tobias Harris added 18 points. But the Pistons could not get stops (the Knicks shot 52.3 percent) and point guard Reggie Jackson had a rough night.

SVG is trying to send a message through the media. When the Pistons traded for Harris at the deadline, it was always a move that might hurt in the short-term (this season) but likely would be brilliant down the line. This is a team still learning how to win at the NBA level, and Saturday was another painful lesson. Van Gundy made sure they understood.