Tag Archives: hack-a-Howard

The Celtics take on Howard and win

It was a renaissance in Boston last night. Garnett was draining 20 footers, Paul Pierce was driving and kicking and hitting shots, and Jermaine O’Neal was putting the clamps on Dwight Howard. Everybody hustled. The defensive intensity never lapsed all game. To steal a line from NBA TV studio man Brent Barry, the Celtics’ “Jurassic Five” went prehistoric on the Magic and held them to a franchise-low 56 points. It was their first win over a team with a winning record, by 31 points no less.

Recently, I’ve discussed the efficacy of the hack-a-Howard strategy (or as Celtics TV mainstay Tommy Heinsohn puts it, the old “hack the Shaq”). The short answer is that Howard shoots too well from the line (59% almost every year, though lower so far this year) for a pure hack-a-Howard to be effective for most teams. However, hacking Howard only when he has the ball in good position Continue reading

Hack-a-Howard in practice

A couple weeks ago, I argued that the hack-a-Howard strategy could work on a player who shoots 50% from the line. My post was timely; four days later, Mark Jackson instructed his Warriors to foul Howard repeatedly. Howard attempted 39 free throws (an NBA record) and made 21 (54%). The Warriors lost the game, and commentators hammered Jackson for ruining the flow of the game and being afraid to face up to the opposition. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t really complain but refused to foul 51% career free throw shooter Andris Biedrins in retaliation. However, the Warriors still had a chance to win with 3 minutes left against a far superior opponent. To me, that looks like a success.

What do the numbers say about Jackson’s decision? Well, Continue reading

The hack-a-Howard

In my post on Friday about the DiMaggio hit streak, I mentioned the old hack-a-Shaq strategy. With Dwight Howard playing for Shaq’s old team, I’m surprised that teams don’t try the hack-a-Howard (Howard is a 60% career free throw shooter). Friday night’s Bulls-Magic game was a potential opportunity; the Bulls led for the entire fourth quarter. Here are the Bulls possessions inside of 4:30 remaining: Continue reading