If you just look at the numbers Dwight Howard had a pretty good night at the free throw line — 9-of-17 overall and he hit 6-of-7 from the line late in the fourth quarter and overtime.
But that’s not the whole story.
With four minutes left and the Blazers down 10, coach Terry Stotts ordered hack-a-Howard — Nicolas Batum intentionally fouled Howard. And Howard proceeded to miss two free throws. Next Rockets possession Damian Lillard fouled Howard, and he again missed both free throws.
It forced Kevin McHale to substitute Patrick Beverley in for Howard until under the two minute mark (when intentional fouls off the ball carry a stiffer penalty). By the time Howard came back in it was a three point game,on its way to overtime and a Trail Blazers victory in the extra period.
Before the game Stotts joked he would go to hack-a-Howard on the first possession, but after the game he said you can expect to see it again, reports the Houston Chronicle.
“It prolonged the game for us, no matter what he did,” he said. “It gave us more opportunities….
“I think it has its place,” he said. “It can be disruptive at times and has helped some teams win. It’s an option that is always there.”
Which is to say, if we’re down late again and need a spark I’m doing this again.
And teams will keep doing it until it doesn’t work.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.