Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy seems to be growing tired of his team’s dispassionate attitude.
Van Gundy took a few shots at his players’ lackluster approach following a 100-84 loss Tuesday night to the Charlotte Bobcats, the worst team in the NBA.
”Our guys are satisfied that we came in with the third-best record in the East and the fifth-best record in the league,” Van Gundy said. ”They’re satisfied with that. I don’t think there’s any push to be better or any push to be great. If there is, it doesn’t show up in games.”
Added Van Gundy: ”This is who are. Whether we change that or not, I don’t know.”
The Magic led by 20 points in the first half but let the Bobcats back in it. After Charlotte coach Paul Silas was ejected in the second quarter for arguing a call, the Bobcats went on a 22-1 run to take the lead in the third quarter.
Corey Maggette scored a season-high 29 points for the Bobcats, Gerald Henderson hit some big shots in the fourth quarter, and Charlotte won for just the fifth time in 36 games against the Magic.
The Bobcats came in having lost 21 of their last 22 games, but got a big game from rookie center Bismack Biyombo.
Biyombo, the seventh overall pick in the draft, played with emotion and battled toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard and had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. He also blocked seven shots.
Howard had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 14 points and 11 boards for the Magic.
It’s the second straight game Biyombo has played well in a starting role against Howard. In January, Biyombo had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a six-point Charlotte loss.
”It’s a big challenge and you can take it or you can walk away,” Biyombo said of facing Howard.
Said Maggette: ”I think he was the difference in this game.”
Maggette was pretty big, too.
Coming off a 24-point performance Sunday night against New Jersey, Maggette was aggressive in taking the ball to the hole. He hit 9 of 17 shots from the field and 10 of 11 free throws.
”It just feels good to get a win,” Maggette said. ”We’ve been up and down and we’re not having a good season – everyone knows that. For our team to play and fight tonight was a positive for our team.”
The Bobcats won despite the fact veteran forward Boris Diaw, a regular starter, did not play amid uncertainty surrounding his future with the team.
Charlotte president of basketball operations Rod Higgins confirmed Tuesday night that he met with Diaw recently about the veteran’s expiring contract. Higgins said Diaw’s agent, Doug Neustadt, approached him about the possibility of a trade or buyout that would allow his client a chance to move to another team this season.
Diaw is under contract for $9 million this season, which could make it difficult to trade him.
He’s been at odds with Silas most of the season.
”It’s just one of those things,” Silas said. ”I wanted to see what the rest of the guys could do. We just weren’t going to play him and see what the other guys could do and they did a good job.”
While Silas was pleased with how his team played under his son, Stephen, for the better part of three quarters, Van Gundy seems a bit disgusted.
Van Gundy coached despite experiencing chest pains Monday night in Toronto and staying behind to be examined by doctors. He said after the game he feels ”fine.”
”When we went up 18 or 20 points we got real selfish and everybody just tried to get theirs and everybody quit playing the way we had played to get the lead,” Van Gundy said. ”We will not play 48 minutes. We just will not.”
Van Gundy said the team has a bad mentality right now.
”It’s our mentality to start the game and then feel like `OK, it doesn’t matter, I can be careless on this pass because we’re up 20,”’ he said. ”So that leads to points. And then it’s, `OK, I don’t have to help on this drive and now we’re up 16.’ And it just keeps going. It’s not a mentality of playing every possession as hard as you can.”
With Charlotte leading 84-82, Henderson, who finished with 16 points, began to take over.
He scored twice against another former Duke player, J.J. Redick, drawing a pair of fouls both times. Although he missed both free throw attempts, Henderson came right back and knocked down another jumper over Hedo Turkoglu to push the Bobcats’ lead to eight.
The Magic never really threatened again.
Notes: Diaw sitting out broke a personal streak of 384 straight games played. … Silas now leads the league in technical fouls with six. … The Magic attempted 35 3-pointers (they made 13) against one of the league’s poorest interior defensive teams. … At one point during the game, there were four former Duke players on the court: Maggette and Henderson for the Bobcats and Redick and Chris Duhon for the Magic.