You remember these commercials from years back? They had a bunch of them. This one was one of my favorites.
Wednesday’s Clippers vs. Rockets game, however, won’t be giving us one any moments worthy of one these commercials. If it gives us anything, it will be abolishing the “Hack-a-Shaq” rule, which would be even better.
The teams combined to shoot 96 free throw attempts, and that proved to be a HUGE advantage for the home team, which won by a score of 115-109. Houston took exactly twice as many attempts (64) in their own building as the visiting Clippers (32).
Houston’s 64 free throw attempts are most in a playoff game since 1993 (Suns had 64 attempts vs SuperSonics) Even series with Clippers 1-1— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 7, 2015
In some ways, it’s incredible what the Rockets were able to pull off — they shot 65.6 percent from the free throw line and 19.2 percent from downtown in a win.
Rockets: 64 free throw attempts, most by any team in a playoff game since 1993 pic.twitter.com/kxp7ZhEuTh— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 7, 2015
Rockets are 1st team in NBA postseason history to win a game despite missing at least 20 free throw attempts and 20 3-point attempts (Elias)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 7, 2015
Maybe the most amazing statistic was that out of the 96 attempts, DeAndre Jordan only shot six of them, and actually made his first four. But don’t expect that to be the standard.
Dwight Howard, on the other hand, was a busy man at the stripe on this night. He shot 8-for-21 from the line. Busy, not productive. The Clips weren’t really left with a choice, though. Howard shot 8-for-11 from the field and grabbed 16 rebounds, so taking him out of his comfort zone was the right move.
James Harden was also perfect on his 15 attempts from the line, but that’s something he’s been doing all season. The reality is that this was still a very good game (and series) with a ton of star power. But it could be even more enjoyable if there were less foul calls.
Some of that is the refs needing to swallow the whistle and let the players get physical (it has to be when there are 96 freaking free throws). Physical playoff basketball is what we all want to see.
But the major factor is eliminating the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy, which has slowed the pace of fantastic games. By the time this series is over (and it’s sure to be a long one), we’re all going to have the images of Dwight and DeAndre bricking away at the line burned into our brains. If that’s what it takes to get the rules changed, then I’m fine by it.
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