Though the 1-seed Cavs are up 1-0 on the Pistons, if the first game was any indication, this could be the most compelling series in the first round of the playoffs. The Pistons shot lights out from beyond the arc on Sunday and continued to show signs of development, but LeBron James and the Cavs came roaring back to take the 106-101 win. In a game that close, every little call can seem magnified. In the eyes of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, LeBron (shocker!) got a lot of those calls.
Stan Van Gundy: “LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him, he gets to do what he wants.” pic.twitter.com/BjwDhKVtWn
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 17, 2016
SVG later backed off his “LeBron’s LeBron” comments after the game, but by that point, nobody would have believed him anyway.
“Look, I thought it evened out really well,” Van Gundy said, via ESPN.com. “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.”
It’s not some big secret that LeBron gets calls — or that any superstar does. It manifests in many ways: fouls (or non-fouls), travels (or non-travels) and the like. The Pistons have had success beating the Cavs in Cleveland this season, but to win a playoff series, you have to win some on the road. To come up short in a tight game can be frustrating when you take the superstar lean into account.
In the longterm, most steps forward have been positive for SVG and the Pistons. In that sense, one game isn’t the end of the world. In the short term, however — and that’s all SVG can think about at the moment — Sunday’s loss was a frustrating setback given the team’s prior success in Cleveland and how well they shot in the first half.