GameThread (1400+ comments)
Blog Buddy: Orlando Pinstriped Post
Dwight Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain's near-50-year-old record for most free throw attempts in a game yesterday, going 21-for-39 en route to 43 points and 21 rebounds. The game was actually close until the waning moments, a one-possession ballgame throughout the entire fourth quarter until Von Wafer hit a three from the right corner on a rotation ball movement, Hedo Turkoglu's 9th assist, with 36.9 seconds remaining, which doubled the Magic's lead from 112-109 to 115-109.
Lost in the history-making night would be Monta Ellis's ensuing inbound turnover that without the benefit of replay and watching from press row, appeared to be almost directly passed to Hedo. This lead to Dominic McGuire having no choice to foul Hedo, and Hedo draining the last two points. With the deficit at an impossible 7 points and the buzzer approaching, Monta would attempt a tired-looking trey that the Nate Robinson tracked down, and Brandon Rush closed it out with badly missed trey himself.
And so ended with a thud, the night when the term "Hack-A-Howard" would probably earn its own Wikipedia page.
Let's get some of the team performances out of the way first...
- Key to the game: Andris Biedrins had 2 points on 1-for-1, 8 rebounds, but picked up his 3rd foul with 1:29 to go in the first half, and his 4th foul with 5:29 to go in the 3rd quarter, and his 5th foul 26 seconds later after a rebound by Turkoglu. By my count, Dwight had 17 more free throw attempts after that. Beans (sorry, I'm not calling him "Dre" unless he asks me to) would foul out at the 7:17 mark in the 4th quarter -- on a J.J. Redick rebound, no less.
- Monta finished with 30 points, 11 assists, 4 turnovers.
- David Lee: 26 and 12. 5 turnovers, though.
- In a starting role, Brandon Rush had a typical Brandon Rush type of game in terms of the numbers. Pretty solid. No complaints here.
- Klay Thompson: 5/8 field and 4/5 treys. Counts as a great game for the rook.
- Chris Jenkins: Hit some open jumpers early. 8 pts on 4/7, 3 assists, no turnovers. Best game as a rook, probably. Didn't play much late.
- Nate Rob: Played okay. Certainly not "Superman" as we saw on Tuesday, at just 5/13 field, but he had 0 turnovers.
- Jeremy Tyler and Ekpe Udoh had poor numbers but they were dwarfed on the court by Dwight. I feel bad for them, actually.
- Dominic was a bit of a non-factor.
- Warriors "only" had 14 turnovers. As you can see above, 9 of them by Monta and D.Lee. Klay was guilty on 2 of them.
All in all, while the Hack-A-Shaq strategy -- okay, okay Hack-A-Howard, whatever -- ultimately ended with a loss, it almost worked. If you just looked at the boxscore, you'd be very impressed by the Warriors side of things. If you weren't at The Oracle watching this game, you would've assumed it was boring.
The Warriors came out great, but squandered a 13-point lead towards a halftime lead of 57-53. From there until Wafer's pivotal trey, the biggest lead was 4, and that was the Warriors leading 82-78 with 49.6 to go in the 3rd.
So was it all that bad? What would have happened if Hack-A-Howard was not employed? Here are some reflections...
- Sherwood Strauss: "It was a symptom, not a disease"
- Tom Ziller: awful and failure
- Bay Area Sports Guy: resorting to the tactic
- Orlando Pinstriped Post: fouling into submission
- Mark Spears: got Al Attles's take
- Marcus Thompson: Dwight too much
With that, let's take a look at some fascinating things I found on the Hack-A-Shaq wikipedia:
- Not surprisingly, brought into prominence by Don Nelson.
- Surprisingly, was actually brought into prominence before Shaq, by hacking Dennis Rodman during Michael Jordan's second reign.
- Successfully implemented by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich during the 2008 Playoffs vs the Phoenix Suns.
Alright, somebody go update that Wikipedia now.