Van Gundy Calls Incident With Rashard Lewis 'No Big Deal'
Van Gundy allowed Lewis back in to start the second half of that one, and before his team was set to take on the Suns, the coach downplayed the entire situation, mainly because Lewis' actions were based on what he thought would be best for the team at the time.
"I think it was no big deal," Van Gundy said. "I really wasn't that upset, I got asked why he sat out so long and I explained it. I said I was baffled by it, but I really wasn't upset by it."
As Van Gundy continued, he basically laughed off the incident with Lewis, citing the fact that his long-term relationship with the player was more important than something that went down during just a few minutes of game-time action.
"It was a one-time thing," Van Gundy said. "I have coached Rashard, I don't know, counting playoffs a couple hundred and some games. I mean, we had one thing we disagreed on that was a matter of five minutes and change. I'm not going to blow that out of proportion.
"If I got along with everybody else in my life as well as Rashard and I get along, I'd be in pretty good shape."
At the time, Lewis said the reason for his not wanting to return to the game was that Ryan Anderson was playing well, and that he didn't want to pick up his third foul before halftime. This line of reasoning, in Van Gundy's eyes, is what made this such a minor incident.
"[Lewis] thought that was what was best for the team," Van Gundy said. "But the one thing I have confidence in with him all the time is, even if I disagree with his thinking, which I did at the time, the one thing I have confidence in with him is that he is thinking about the team. He's not thinking about himself."