– The Orlando Magic defeated the Golden State Warriors, 117-109, on Thursday night. In the process, Dwight Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most free-throws in a single game, going 21 of 39 from the line. This occurrence upset both of the sons, albeit in different ways.
I, was officially wronged by Mark Jackson, head coach, for the first time last night. Hell, we all were. Committing to watching Orlando was, and always is, my mistake. The rest is on Mr. “Hand Down, Man Down.”
In an apparent attempt to get a head-start on the HORROR of Friday the 13th (the only “Jason” involved being Mr. Richardson, who got hurt), the Jackson-led Warriors took the finer points of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy and applied them to the malcontent, modern-day O’Neal. The result was, indeed, horrifying on a number of levels. Anyone who stuck with it is either a hardcore fan of either team, or a complete sadist.
Never mind the fact that, as mentioned, I abhor the mere idea of viewing a Magic game in full. Despite being 8-3, they still play with a disjointed style, a bunch of guards who seem to be stepping back, and the centerpiece – an infant-skyscraper who doesn’t want to be there. I never really did like watching the Magic, even when they appeared to be poised to win it all. As for the Warriors, they’re hit and miss for me… meaning I usually miss games like the Miami affair from a few nights back and “hit” on games like their ugly loss to Utah. Regardless, I stayed with TNT to observe, which was mighty valiant of me when you consider that I had just labored through the ENTIRE New York/Memphis clash, a game so disgusting that I strongly considered just going bed at, like, 6:15 PM.
Initially, it looked like a messy night in the Bay. That proved to be a generous thought. The fouling began. At first, I didn’t really notice. However, as they added up, it occured to me that Howard was at the line basically all of the time. When he wasn’t there, he was dunking with authority. Whistle after whistle kept coming. I was getting impatient. Halftime finally rolled around and, at that point, Dwight had shot 18 free throws.
After Shaq broke down the tactic, with his usual eloquence, for twenty minutes, we got back to it and it kept going. I made it about halfway though the 3rd quarter before to decided to turn it off when old J-Rich tweaked his knee. Hathwell messaged me a little bit later to let me know that Howard was 13-28 from the line…
… and that the 3rd had just ended.
When it was all said and done, Howard has 45 points, 23 rebounds, and a new FT record. The game lasted 2 hours and 39 minutes, a full 15 minutes longer than the Lakers/Jazz, OVERTIME contest the night before. As always, Jackson had some insightful words after the game:
“I can understand people thinking, `Why?’ But don’t get caught up in the free throws,” Jackson said. “Think about when we didn’t foul him. It was dunks, hooks, at the rim. He’s a great player. And he’s a bad free throw shooter. Giving ourselves the best chance possible, we tried to mess up their rhythm, take their 3-point shooters out of it, which we did. They made plays.”
Don’t get caught up in the free throws? How could you not? He’s a bad free throw shooter, but not bad enough to justify the approach. Is that really giving yourself the best chance possible? I think not. Make him “make a grown man move” and stop giving away free shots/destroying anything resembling a game with some flow, Mark. I’m done.
Oh man, I’ve always fucking hated Hack-a-Shaq. Nevermind that it’s totally inartistic and cowardly and all that mess, it’s just a dumb idea. Unless the guy is missing 75% of the free throws, you’re basically giving away more points than the average team gets per possession, and worse, you’re essentially telling your players that they aren’t good enough to win on their own merits. It’s a lose-lose.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Fuck, what else did we expect from Mark Jackson? The only thing worse than doing something completely lame in the pursuit of winning a basketball game is when you do it and still lose the goddamn game.
Everyone knows I have an irrational love of the Warriors’ roster, and honestly, I was actually on board with Jackson as the Warriors coach for about a week. I totally tried talking myself into him being a disciplinarian, a father figure, etc.
Kidding myself, to put it mildly.
So yeah, what an embarrassment. I’m setting the over/under on Jackson’s coaching tenure with Golden State at a year and a half, and I’m betting the under. I just don’t see it ending any other way than horribly, and the only thing worse than what he’s gonna end up doing to a team that I like is what he’ll be doing to my ears when ESPN eventually hires him back.
Woe is me.
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