"You can have all the talent you want and you can have the best team, but that really doesn't equate much into anything because you have to stay healthy and you have to be mentally tough...One thing you have to tip your hat off to Detroit is that when things aren't going their way, they stick with it and hang in there. You never really question their effort. I feel that's one thing they have on us, and we have to get to that level if we really want to truly compete for a championship."
I've read that quote several times and I still don't know if he is saying that the Pacers don't play as hard as the Pistons or if he is saying that when things don't go the Pacers way they fall apart mentally. Or maybe he's saying both.
I think the Pacers generally play as hard as any team in the league incuding the Pistons. I don't think that is a problem.
However, I think when things go bad within a game the Pacers players tend to get away from the game plan, go their own ways, try to win the games themselves and are not as mentally tough as the Pistons.