The Hack-a-Howard strategy paid off for the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets recently with these two teams sending Dwight Howard to the free-throw in the fourth quarter in to order the superstar center to hit shots from the charity stripe in order to beat them.
As a result of Howard’s poor free-throw shooting, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered consecutive losses against the Magic and Rockets while leaving quite a few points that could’ve ultimately been the difference between winning and losing at the line.
The impact of the Hack-a-Howard strategy has been costly for the Lakers as of late with it not only sending their worst free-throw shooter to the line constantly in the fourth quarter but it also throwing the team off in terms of rhythm. As a result, the entertainment factor goes down considerably as well as the Lakers’ chances of pulling out wins in close games.
With NBA commissioner David Stern fresh off of slapping the San Antonio Spurs with a $250,000 fine for rest star players against the Miami Heat recently, the longtime commissioner has chimed in about the strategy that has impacted the Lakers and the product on the floor by saying the following via Henry Abbott of ESPN’s TrueHoop:
“I would have liked to have seen the rule changed to make the last-two-minute rule the whole rule,” he said. “It was getting to a point last year where, [in the] first period, they were just grabbing players. I think that’s ludicrous.”
Obviously, Stern isn’t a fan of the strategy teams are using against the Lakers late in games and believes rules should be put in place to prevent it from happening.
Although Stern would like to prevent Hack-a-Howard strategies, it seems doubtful that it will happen before he officially retires. With that being said, Howard will simply need to improve from the line or he’ll continue to be criticized and a big liability for the team in close games for the rest of the season.