A few years back we had “Hack-a-Shaq,” a late-in-the-game strategy where teams would intentionally foul Shaquille O’Neal hoping he would miss free throws as teams tried to make up deficits in the fourth quarter. It appears a new strategy focused on intentionally fouling Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard may be fast gaining steam as the NBA 2013-14 season gets into full swing.
In Thursday’s game between the Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers intentionally fouled their former center hoping the charity-stripe challenged Howard would miss free throws thus giving them a “defensive stop” and a chance to score. The strategy worked as Howard for the game made only five of 16 free throws in the Lakers one-point (99-98) win over the Rockets. The Lakers’ success with this strategy may prompt other teams to try the same ploy in close games this season as they look to beat Houston.