Hack-A-Whoever and Kobe goes 21-23 in Laker Win
It was interesting to watch the Spurs employ the Hack-a-Shaq strategy in a new way against the Suns. Instead of waiting for Shaquille O’Neal to receive the ball before fouling him, they fouled him away from the ball. Not only did O’Neal shoot a pitiful 9 for 20 in the elimination game but at best traded 1 pt. for possession of the ball. It also totally eliminated Phoenix from employing their fast paced fastbreak style of basketball. Although it made for ugly basketball, it was a winning stategy.
Since then, the Spurs used the same tactic a little w/ Tyson Chandler of the Hornets while Detroit fouled Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic frequently. Both are poor foul shooters who could use The Foul Shot Doc.
Conversely, the Lakers and Kobe Bryant used the foul line to their advantage as Bryant hit 21-23, scoring more points from the line than any of his teammates scored in the game. Coach Phil Jackson said “It’s an incredible night to have 23 foul shots. It was our biggest scoring threat of the night.” It still amazes me that folks refuse to realize how pivotal free throw shooting impacts on a game.