When the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets went to the “hack-a-Howard” strategy — fouling the Lakers Dwight Howard wherever he was on the court, even when he didn’t have the ball, to make him shoot free throws — it worked because it threw the Lakers off. In those two games Howard hit 50 percent of his free throws during the strategy (which still isn’t great), but the greater impact was it threw the Lakers out of rhythm on both ends of the court.
But it isn’t just the Lakers flow that gets thrown off, it’s the fans, too. Because watching a parade to the free throw line has the drawing power of CSPAN-2.
David Stern is all about the image and how games look on television — just ask Gregg Popovich and the Spurs — so you know he doesn’t like to watch hack-a-anyone. The league has effectively banned the strategy from the last two minutes of the game by making it two free throws plus the ball out of bounds if you foul off the ball.
And Stern told the guys from the Fox Sports New Orleans broadcast team (when he sat in with them for a bit Wednesday night during the Hornets/Lakers game) he tried to get it banned completely, but couldn’t. Thanks to Henry Abbott at TrueHoop for the transcription:
“I would have liked to have seen the rule changed to make the last-two-minute rule the whole rule,” he said. “It was getting to a point last year where, [in the] first period, they were just grabbing players. I think that’s ludicrous.
“We tried to change it to any time in the game because last year I guess it was everyone was fouling Tiago Splitter early on and the committee didn’t want to do it. And so that’s just the way it is. Because the reality is that there are a lot of basketball purists — and I understand that point of view — who say, ‘Hey, why don’t you learn to shoot foul shots? You’re supposed to be a pro.'”
Abbot makes an interesting suggestion — for off-the-ball fouls, offer the team the free throws or the ball out of bounds. Essentially eliminate the effectiveness of the strategy without killing the flow of the game as much.
I get that. The parade to the free throw line is no fun to watch. But if a guy can’t make his free throws, shouldn’t his team pay a price for that?
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has a certain sense of humor, one that has embraced former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s motto of “Trust the Process” as a kind of personal mantra and brand.
Embiid has apparently taken it a step further, showing off custom sneakers on Snapchat of his “Trust the Process” shoes.
You read that right.
The inside tongue of a pair of kicks Embiid was rocking on Saturday read in all lowercase letters the phrase we now associate with the Cameroonian center.
Embiid famously dubbed himself “The Process” and even filed for a trademark on the language in order to sell merchandise no doubt to be with us shortly.
Keep it coming, Joel. Absolutely each and every one of these are great.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is one of the best basketball players ever, and on Friday night he passed Elvin Hayes for 9th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Now, LeBron has accomplished a feat that is all his own.
During a game against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, James became the first player to log 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists.
Being alone in those categories is incredibly special, and is a marker to how James has played his entire career as a revolutionary point forward.
James is not only 9th in scoring, but 16th in assists. Statistical averages suggest he will end the season somewhere around 12th all-time in passing.
Timofey Mozgov is not an MVP candidate, but that didn’t stop one fan from starting a chant while the Los Angeles Lakers C was at the free-throw line on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.
May I just say this: Bless this fan.
As Mozgov went to the line midway through the first quarter, someone within earshot of ESPN’s parabolic microphones started a chant for the Russian big man.
It was quiet during Mozgov’s first free throw, but during the second more fans at Staples joined in to the point where it was impossible to ignore it.
This is what having a fun at a basketball game looks like. Too good.
Cleveland Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson has a legendary Snapchat account, and I think it just got even better.
During a video posted to Jefferson’s account on Saturday, viewers were able to see a point-of-view account of what it’s like to be an NBA player practicing 3-pointers and dunking down lob passes.
Thanks to a pair of Snapchat Spectacles — a video camera in a set of glasses and paired with the social application — Jefferson gave us a taste of what it’s like to be an NBA player, if only for a moment.
I think it’s pretty cool to see from his perspective. Thanks to the evolution of wearable technology and 3D viewing equipment this is probably just a very small preview of what our viewing experience for the NBA is going to be like in 10-15 years.