INDIANAPOLIS — Stan Van Gundy has done a better job of controlling his emotions during games so far this season.
His players aren't following his lead.
After starting the season with relative calmness, the Orlando Magic are not keeping their composure. The team committed six individual technical fouls during its emotional, hard-fought win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, and the Magic are losing their cool far too often to suit Van Gundy.
"We're gonna talk about it, because I don't like what I'm seeing," Van Gundy said after the win. "But, at the same time, as with all of us, part of that is fatigue and frustration, too."
The Magic might be buckling under the influence of the compressed schedule and the frustration from their slump at the end of January. Monday's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers will be their 10th game in 15 nights, and the team appears to be a bit frayed at its edges.
To be sure, the Magic were swept up in an intense, physical game Saturday when they committed all those technical fouls against the Pacers.
Three of Orlando's techs came during one minor fracas in which Quentin Richardson and Danny Granger shoved each other after Granger hit Richardson in the face with a seemingly inadvertent elbow and then exchanged words. Earl Clark and Tyler Hansbrough also pushed one another.
But three other technicals occurred during the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter and could have cost Orlando the game:
• Von Wafer insisted that he did nothing to deserve the technical that was called against him, but Wafer did collide with Hansbrough after a referee's whistle.
• Dwight Howard was whistled for complaining to the refs.
• And, with 12.0 seconds left in regulation and just two points separating the two teams, Hedo Turkoglu got angry after David West fouled him hard across the back of the head. Turkoglu responded by heaving the ball down the length of the court.
"Turk's is unforgiveable," Van Gundy said. "You don't throw the ball. Don't give that point away. Go up to the line and make the free throws, basically, and the game's over. He gave 'em a chance.
"Again, we will talk about all those things on Monday."
Van Gundy better bring a throat lozenge, because he has a lot of ground to cover.
And it's not just technicals.
Glen Davis has completed a two-game suspension after he had an outburst and an argument with Van Gundy during Friday's shootaround session at Amway Center. Team officials have not detailed what occurred, but Van Gundy did say the dispute never turned physical.
But Davis is not the only Magic big man to lose his temper recently.
Last Tuesday, power forward Ryan Anderson got angry and said something to Van Gundy as Anderson was subbed out during the third quarter of the Magic's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Philly.
"It was just frustration on my part and not making shots," Anderson said. "We weren't really moving the ball at that time, and it was just frustration."
Anderson apologized to Van Gundy immediately after that game.
Howard is the team's co-captain, its self-professed leader, and he is not setting a good example with his interactions with refs.
On Saturday, he complained again. His technical with 2:44 to go against the Pacers was his seventh in 24 games.
He is on pace for 19 techs over the course of this 66-game season after he had 18 techs in his 78 games played last season.
It's a disturbing trend, both from Howard and his teammates.
No wonder Van Gundy is so concerned.
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