What To Do About Hacking+NBA Playoffs Update

Coming into the Rockets-Clippers series, we knew there were going to be a ton of free throws.  I even predicted it.  Both teams would experience with hacking, nicknamed Hack-A -Shaq due to the origins of the technique.  We change the name depending on who’s getting fouled (Hack-A-Jordan/Howard/Drummond/Okafor (that’s coming, don’t worry).

But Sunday night’s Game 4 of Rockets-Clippers was a different kind of hacking.  The point:  DeAndre Jordan attempted 28 free throws in the first half.  He made 10 of them.  That’s an NBA Playoff record for attempts in a half.  Houston fouled him, and kept fouling him, and then did it some more.  They were somehow down 60-54 at halftime.  Turns out, it totally backfired on them.

The Clippers came out of the break on fire, as Houston stopped fouling due to a lack of guys with a no fouls.  The Rockets hadn’t really played defense all night, due to most of the Clips’ offensive possessions coming from the line.  After halftime, they still didn’t.  The game turned into a disaster, and Houston found themselves giving up 43 points in the 3rd quarter.  Halfway through that quarter, they were down 81-58, having scored four points in six minutes.

The hacking technique back fired on Houston Sunday night, and even though it didn’t work for them completely, the debate rages on about whether this excessive and constant fouling should be allowed.  Many hope for a rule change, others say to deal with it.

The Case For A Rule:

Inputing a rule that prohibits excessive and intentional fouling would solve most the problems.  It makes awful television to watch one guy shoot free throws over and over again.  The NBA is an entertainment broadcast, and watching a guy shoot upwards of 15 free throws in a half is not entertaining.  The NBA is also a business, and while it might be a fair strategy, they care about TV ratings and money.  People won’t watch the games featuring the teams with players on them who I listed above.  Adding a rule would gain more viewers back.

A rule wouldn’t put a burden on the certain players who have issues with free throws.  Guys wouldn’t have to stress about making them, and could remain in the game to help their team on defense.  The guys that struggle with the freebies are great defensive players, like DeAndre and Dwight Howard.  That’s where they specialize.

The specifics of a rule are a little hard to bang out, but maybe, if one’s inputed, it would have a certain frame of time.  Say the rule allows hacking with under six minutes left in the 4th quarter, but prohibits it at any other time in the game.  This would be a farce for the other team.  Zero or one point(s) per possession in the final minutes will lose you a game.  It would force guys to make their free throws, with consequences being costly.  Games already slow down in the 4th quarter, but we could make up for it if it didn’t occur in the middle of the 2nd.

A rule where hacking is prohibited in the final minutes makes no sense.  Having drama at the end of games should be a goal of the NBA’s.  There’s no real drama in the middle of 2nd quarter.  No one wants to watch free throws excessively in the middle of the first half.  If a rule is inputted, it should allow hacking in the final six, but that’s it.

The Case Against A Rule:

This is where I (sorta) stand on this matter.  The easiest point against a rule is:  You should be able to make your free throws.  There’s no one guarding you.  You’re 15 feet from the hoop, standing still, and trying to put a ball in a hoop.  Is it really that hard?  No!  I could go to a court and shoot free throws, and I have never played organized basketball on true team (unless you count pick-up or playground….playground meaning at school).  My Dad has a serious issue with guys who can’t make free throws.  He thinks there should be a clause in a contract that doesn’t allow you to earn a certain amount of money if you’re not shooting at least 70%.

That’s the main case against a rule.  Other cases have a rule possibility disrupting the “integrity” of the game.  I know I know, that’s an NFL word, but still, some feel that the “originally” of the game would be affected by a rule.  Not inputting a rule would force guys to make free throws, and if they can’t, they’d hurt their team.  As I’ve also said above, the hacking applies to about four or five teams in the league.  That’s it.  It’s not like half the league does it.  Houston, the Clippers, Detroit (Andre Drummond), and whoever lands Jahil Okafor (Again, I did watch a good amount of college basketball this year, even though I didn’t cover it) in the upcoming draft (so add Minnesota or the Knicks or Philadelphia).

Not adding a rule applies to leagues below the NBA too.  Heck, this applies to community leagues and school teams in 6th-8th grade.  Youth coaches make their kids practice free throws.  Trust me, none of the kids like it, but they’re important, as Houston and LA showed you Sunday night.  Youth coaches have reportedly reached out to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, asking for no rule change, because they want their kids to be able to make free throws, and say “I can hit those, but Dwight can’t, ha!”

So what happens?  And where do I stand?

There’s a difference here.  First:  Where I stand….

I don’t want a rule, honestly.  These guys should be able to make their free throws.  It’s really not that hard.  Players obviously need to practice these more, and I don’t believe any of the science behind why or why not they can’t make them.  Make your free throws, and contribute to your team.  I know it’s sucky television, and it’s not fun to watch.  However, this is how basketball is supposed to be played.  Keep it that way.

What the NBA does this Summer….

I think we’re heading for a rule change.  It’s gonna really make me mad when it happens.  I believe it’ll have similar parameters to what I laid out above.  They’re gonna see the ratings, have a heart attack, panic and do something about it.  To me this sucks, but it takes a burden off some of these players.  It also makes the game more enjoyable.

Whatever happens, people will react, and this will be the one of the bigger stories this Summer in basketball.


Quick Hits On NBA Playoff Matchups:

This second round has been awesome.  It has totally made up for the lackluster first round that we had.  Here’s what I’ve seen from the four matchups so far.

  • Cavaliers-Bulls has been the best series of the second round so far.  I mean, two buzzer beaters, three close games.  We have this thing tied at 2 heading into tonight.  My original pick was Bulls in 7.  Chicago has played better than Cleveland in this series.  Granted, they’re taking advantage of the banged up Cavs.  Kevin Love is obviously gone, and now Kyrie Irving is dealing with a strained foot and knee tendinitis.  It shows.  He, in Game 4, had no chance against Derrick Rose.  Irving was slow on defense and couldn’t catch up.  On offense, he wasn’t attacking the basket.  Irving was literally standing there, afraid to run, and was shooting jump shots at the wing Sunday.  His two injuries aren’t going away soon.  Rose is gonna become a bigger problem for Cleveland.  It always seems that, this time of year, Lebron James always has to do everything.  That wasn’t supposed to happen this year, but look at where we are.  And now, he’s got a sprained ankle.  Cleveland continues to decimated by injuries.  It’s why I went against them in my preview.  It’s looking pretty good right now, aye?
  • This column was based around Clippers-Rockets, if you haven’t noticed.  Even if the hacking didn’t exist, this still wouldn’t be that fun.  Los Angeles leads 3-1 in the series.  They’re simply beating Houston down low.  Dwight Howard hasn’t been great, and that’s not good since he’s their only rim protecter.  The Clips are playing great wing defense, causing Houston to not get open looks from three, where they live and die.  It’s quite simple, and Houston faces a serious problem.  Perhaps they could try the hack again, but if it back fires, they’ll find themselves golfing while the Conference Finals are taking place.
  • Hawks-Wizards continues to be a very East-like series.  It’s a 2-2 tie after last night, but some of these games just aren’t fun.  Last night, the Wizards played well, but not good enough compared to the Hawks.  That was the best I’ve seen Atlanta play all year.  The spacing was back, Paul Millsap was healthy.  They really dominated Washington offensively, but the Wiz answered, keeping it close.  Washington will hang around, but John Wall’s injury is a huge concern.  We don’t know yet if he’s playing tonight.  While Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce have been fantastic, with Beal kinda taking over point guard, Wall is the guy.  He makes those incredible passes.  He is very good on defense.  The Wiz are gonna have to make up for this, but they’ve shown that they can.  All and all, the Hawks still get this done, but Washington is gonna fight in these next 2 or 3 games.
  • I don’t know why everyone is shocked by Memphis being tied with Golden State at 2.  I had the Grizzlies in the Finals most of the year.  This matchup has gone both ways with each team.  Memphis has been hitting outside shots, something they didn’t do much this season.  It’s throwing the Warriors off; they were prepared to defend the post game.  Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have been good, but the Grizzlies are figuring out that, with their stealth defense, they can explore other options on offense, since Golden State hasn’t been shooting well.  That was the big problem for them in Game 3.  They weren’t getting open looks, and everyone panicked.  Last night was a different story, as the MVP Stephen Curry showed up.  I have gone all over the place with this series, going anywhere from Memphis in 7 to the Dubs in 5.  I truly have no idea what happens from here on out, but it’s bound to be incredible.

On the Pelicans firing Monty Williams……

I’m sorry, but how is this a shock?  Every column I’ve read so far is basically a “I’m sorry” letter to Monty Williams.  It’s like a “Get Well” card on the rack at Target.  I mean, Monty Williams was not a good coach, and I don’t care if he made the playoffs this year.  The only thing that got New Orleans into the playoffs was Anthony Davis, and that’s it.  He had no help, and his coach definitely wasn’t a contributor.  Williams couldn’t figure how to use The Brow right, and it showed against Golden State in the first round.  I also felt that Williams had too much power within the organization, which led to the troubling roster.

This move also shows that, teams in the league really believe that Tom Thibodeau will be out in Chicago.  Reports have him gone no matter what happens this postseason, as him and the front office have butted heads for some time.  Orlando, Denver, and now New Orleans are all teams that are without coaches, and Scott Brooks remains without a team.  It seems likely that Thibs could join him, leading to an all-out bidding war.  New Orleans makes total sense for Thibs.  Could you imagine the Brow being coached by him?  Can you imagine how hard it would be to score against the Brow and the defensive mastermind Thibs is?  Be prepared, just in case it happens…