Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has backtracked on comments he made suggesting NBA referees are biased towards LeBron James.
In an interview with ESPN at the end of the first quarter of the Pistons' 106-101 loss in the opening game of their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Van Gundy expressed frustration at the supposedly favourable calls James received.
"A couple calls have upset our guys," Van Gundy said. "They've got to understand, LeBron's LeBron. They're not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They've got to understand that."
However, Van Gundy offered a different view on the officiating after the game, saying: "Look, I thought it evened out really well. 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.
"There's some things that I regret, myself. I'm proud of our guys. I thought they competed hard. I think there's some things I got to do to help them a little bit more."
The eighth-seeded Pistons led the top-seed Cavaliers by seven points with just over 11 minutes remaining in Cleveland, but Kevin Love's late three-pointers made the difference in sending the hosts 1-0 up in the series.
Kyrie Irving (31 points) and Love (28) led the way for the Cavaliers as the duo look to enjoy more profitable playoff campaigns having both suffered injuries in last year's postseason.
"Between Kyrie and myself, we've had many conversations about our playoff run being cut short," Love said.
"The way I look at it is an opportunity. I want to come out here, be really aggressive, have a next play type of mentality and just try to be one of the leaders out there and make an impact."