Kurt Helin

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 6: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons attempts a free throw against the Houston Rockets on March 6, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Hacking gone mad: Andre Drummond fouled 12 consecutive times to start second half


This isn’t basketball.

But it worked, so we will keep seeing it.

The Pistons were up 56-47 on the Rockets at the half, and Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff decided to go to hack-a-Dre fouling Andre Drummond intentionally to start the second half — 12 straight times. K.J. McDaniels was inserted into the game, and he was charged with fouling Drummond five times in succession just to get the Pistons into the penalty, then the continued hacking led to free throws. The result wasn’t basketball, it was farce. A mockery of the sport. Which is maybe what needs to happen to force a rule change.

The Pistons didn’t get off an actual field goal attempt in the second half until there was 9:08 left in the third quarter, after Drummond was fouled a dozen times.

But it worked at first — Drummond struggled from the line (5-of-16 on those free throws) and the Rockets closed the nine-point deficit and even took the lead. Eventually, the Pistons had to pull Drummond from the game.

Karma won out — Drummond got back in the game, and with Dwight Howard out with a sprained ankle the Pistons pounded the Rockets inside and regained their lead. Detroit won, 123-114.

From Adam Silver on down when a rule change has been advocated the response has been “make your free throws” or “this only impacts a couple of players.” The second part of that isn’t true anymore, it’s growing, and there have already been more intentional off-the-ball fouls this season than there were all of last season.

What’s more, what you are advocating for is not basketball. It is not in the spirit of the rules. It is gaming the system. And it is painful to watch.

The league needs to make a change (I suggest a simple one — if a player is fouled off the ball the aggrieved team can choose free throws or the ball out-of-bounds). It needs to start with Silver taking the lead.

LeBron James, Kevin Love put on dunking exhibition in win against Nets


The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a palate cleansing bounce-back win on Wednesday. The Brooklyn Nets rolled over and obliged. The Cavs won 91-78.

Kevin Love — who really needed a bounce back game — and LeBron James each had 17 points, and each was throwing down some impressive dunks.

There’s a tougher test ahead Thursday with the Los Angeles Clippers in town Thursday night.

Nowitzki out Wednesday night for Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki reacts after hitting a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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DALLAS (AP) — Mavericks leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki is missing Dallas’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night because of fluid on the knee.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki would get treatment on the knee and he wasn’t sure whether the 17-year veteran would miss more time. Chandler Parsons was scheduled to start at power forward in Nowitzki’s place.

“The challenge is rebounding,” Carlisle said of Nowitzki’s absence. “It really puts a big onus on your entire team to go get rebounds. Minnesota is a good rebounding team. Playing small has its advantages and it has other disadvantages.”

Nowitzki is averaging 18 points and seven rebounds per game. He has missed three other games this season, but all were instances in which the Mavericks scheduled rest for him.

Dwight Howard leaves game with sprained ankle, will not return

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In the first minute of the Rockets hosting the Pistons Wednesday, there was a big collision with Andre Drummond that sent both Dwight Howard and Ty Lawson to the ground.

In the process, Howard rolled his ankle. He left the game, went back to the locker room, and the Rockets have announced he is not returning to the game. There is no other word on the severity of the sprain.

Howard has missed seven games for the Rockets this season after battling injuries the past few seasons.

With Dwyane Wade already out, Hassan Whiteside leaves game with oblique strain

Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Kendrick Perkins

Miami was going up against the Wizards shorthanded on Wednesday, with Dwyane Wade taking the night off due to a sore shoulder, joining Goran Dragic and Chris Andersen in street clothes.

Which is why it was bad news when big man Hassan Whiteside fell to the court grabbing his side in the second quarter. It was a non-contact injury, and he stayed down for a couple of minutes. He was helped to the locker room and is not expected to return.

Amare Stoudemire got the second half start for the Heat with Whiteside out.