Friday, January 25, 2008

Hack-A-Boone

As per my usual, I tuned into the Warriors game tonight. GSW at home is must see TV, because you are always going to see something exciting, emotional, and a little bit crazy (usually involving Stephen Jackson). Tonight there was an extra dose of crazy as Don Nelson instructed his team to start intentionally fouling the Nets' Josh Boone midway through the third quarter.

It was a move that inspired jokes from the broadcast booth, predictions from Vince Carter (he accurately told Reggie Miller that Boone would "make both" on one trip and "one of two" on the next), and general mayhem. The strategy didn't work out all that well, as Boone made at least one free throw each time he was sent to the line. More importantly, it completely changed the flow of the game.

For starters, telling your team to start hacking a guy in the third quarter is a poor motivational ploy. You are telling the players that they likely can't win playing conventional basketball - and this happened when the Warriors had the lead! Additionally, once the Warriors got used to not playing defense, they continued to not play defense even after the "strategy" was lifted. Furthermore, Golden State is a team that plays fast and thrives on increasing their number of possessions. They don't want whistles to blow or the clock to stop, because that just slows the pace down. There is a reason the Suns commit the fewest fouls in the league each year (except, somehow, when they play the Spurs in the playoffs) - they don't want the action to stop. Yet there was Nelson, ordering the fouls, halting the action, and then - get this - complaining after the quarter that they "lost their tempo." It was madness.

All told, the Nets scored 38 points in the third quarter, seized control of the game, and put themselves in position to steal a road win from a superior team. Of course, Al Harrington then hit four straight threes, Monta Ellis started flying all over the court, Baron Davis attacked the rim, and the Warriors managed to rip off a 22-0 run and a 25-4 start to the fourth quarter to steal the game right back. Then they gave it away again, only to rally for a wild, thrilling 121-119 victory down the stretch. What could have been an ugly night for the Warriors turned into yet another display of why no one wants to see this team in the playoffs.

Crazy stuff ... as usual.

(Two additional thoughts: 1. Watching Kidd launch a three Hoosiers-style in the waning seconds was just sad. 2. Is it just me, or could Monta Ellis score 50, 60, maybe even 70 points in a game if he wanted to?)

1 comment:

jessica said...

I really believe Don Nelson cares more about being weird than anything. I think it's futile to use sense on him. ;)