Monday night I caught the end of the LA Clippers home game vs. the struggling Atlanta Hawks. With slightly over two minutes left, Atlanta’s coach, Mike Budenholzer, directed his players on the floor to begin fouling DeAndre Jordan the minute he touched the ball. The Hawks were up by by 5 at that point and were out of fouls so this sent Jordan to the free throw line where he made one of 2. This happened two more possessions with Jordan fouled while rebounding the ball and he made all four of his free throws. The Clippers ended up winning the game even though all the momentum had been in the Hawks’ favor with two minutes still left.
I’ve seen Budenholzer try this tactic before and I’m pretty sure it never works. On top of that, DeAndre Jordan is shooting a much improved 61% from the FT line as compared to his career average of 44%. Does Budenholzer think his team’s defense is so bad that he opts for “Hack-A-Jordan” rather than trusting them to get stops? Or is he unaware that Jordan’s free throw shooting has improved considerably? I really felt for the Hawks’ players because they had lost badly the night before in the same building to the Lakers and, with only ten wins on the season, this was a great opportunity for them to get a quality win.