Generally, unless they feel that they’re being disrespected (which sometimes happens during garbage time), NBA players love nothing more than hearing the coach instruct them to get in the game. Last night in Utah, Rashard Lewis flipped the script.
According to Lewis, he refused to re-enter the fray in the second quarter against Utah because he had two fouls and teammate Ryan Anderson was rolling. Head coach Stan Van Gundy must’ve missed that memo, as he was totally confused by Lewis’s decision.
Coach Stan Van Gundy was upset and said he had never had a player overrule him. “(Lewis) didn’t want to go back in. I wanted to put him back in with six minutes to go in the second quarter and he didn’t want to go back in,” Van Gundy said after the Magic (17-5) had their six-game winning streak broken. “He said it was because he had two fouls, and so if you have a guy who doesn’t want to play, I’m not going to get in an argument and put him back in if he doesn’t want to play at that time.
He said, `I’m going to back in and be out in three or four minutes and Ryan (Andersonn) is playing good.’ “I didn’t have time to get into it. It’s rare and I’ve never had that in the first half of a game. I was a little baffled by it.”
Lewis claims he wasn’t being defiant, but did let on that SVG laid some of the blame for the Jazz making their run in the second quarted on his star forward.
Rashard’s numbers are down slightly from last year, and Ryan Anderson (who took advantage of Lewis’s 10-game suspension to start the season) has been a pleasant surprise for the Magic. If Anderson keeps playing at such a high level, Rashard might start hearing less and less from his demanding coach.