In one of the ugliest cases of “Hack-a-Shaq,” you will ever see, the Portland Trail Blazers intentionally foul DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers 14 times on Monday, including one stretch of ten straight possessions in the fourth quarter.
The “Hack-a-Shaq,” named for Shaquille O’Neal and often referred to as the “Hack-a-DJ” for Jordan or the “Hack-a-Howard” for Dwight Jordan, is a strategy by a trailing team of intentionally fouling a player who is notoriously bad at shooting free throws. The idea is that he will likely miss one or both attempts and the trailing team can get the ball back quicker.
In this case, Jordan was intentionally fouled 14 times. One particularly bad stretch started at 3:50 mark of the fourth quarter. The Blazers intentionally fouled Jordan ten straight times over the course of the next 1:32 of game action.
Jordan took a whopping 34 free throws, the third-most in the NBA since the 1963-64 season.
Adding to the ugliness of the situation was that Jordan missed 22 of the free throws. It was clear he was starting to get frustrated towards the end.
The madness finally came to an end thanks to a rule that the NBA needs to extend. In the final two minutes of the game, a foul on a player away from the ball also comes with a technical foul and the team gets to keep the ball after the free throws.
But what is truly amazing is that teams still utilise this strategy even though it almost never works. The Clippers are now 14-0 in regular season games in which Jordan shoots at least 14 free throws. When Jordan, Howard, or O’Neal have shot at least 25 free throws in a game, their teams are 10-1.
In fact, in last night’s game, the Trail Blazers trailed by 14 in the fourth quarter when they began the Hack-A-DJ. During that stretch, Jordan actually outscored the Blazers 8-5, and extended their lead to 17. The Clippers went on to win 102-87.
So if the NBA remains steadfast and refuses to extend the off-the-ball fouls to the entire game, hopefully teams will just realise it is a waste of everybody’s time, including their own.
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