INTENTIONAL FOULS DON’T HALT CLIPPERS, JORDAN
LOS ANGELES – In the wake of DeAndre Jordan being intentionally fouled for what seemed like an eternity Friday night, he never once displayed any level of frustration.
Although seemingly everyone among the announced attendance of 19,060 at Staples Center likely felt that way.
“You see it happening and you’re like, ‘Here we go again,’” Willie Green said.
Jordan, a career 42.7 percent foul shooter, knew it was coming. And when Toronto head coach Dwane Casey first ordered with 6:31 remaining in the third quarter and the Clippers ahead by 20, Jordan knew it was coming. A lot.
“I knew they were going to do it,” Jordan said. “I just didn’t know it was going to last for 45 minutes.”
Jordan said marched to the line 22 times, more than all but six other players in franchise history. He made 10 of them, including going 8-for-16 in a third quarter that lasted as long as some halves.
“[My teammates told] me to be confident and comfortable up there,” Jordan said. “And Jamal [Crawford] made a couple of jokes, which was good just to get my mind off of it.”
Four Clippers players said the strategy junked the game up. They scored just nine points in the final 6:31 of the third and missed their final eight field goal attempts of the period. Toronto pulled within nine points of the lead.
“I think it changed the momentum for us,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “It definitely slowed the game down a lot and took the rhythm but it worked for us. We got the momentum back.”
They did, for a time. But there was plenty of debate about whether or not the strategy is viable afterwards. Should there be a rule change that penalizes a team for fouling off the ball? Should teams be rewarded for not playing defense and simply sending a poor free throw shooter to the line?
Jordan, Blake Griffin and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers were adamant that while it doesn’t look good it’s part of the game.
“It looks bad, there’s no doubt about it,” Rivers said. “The conventional wisdom is, if everybody worked and made them, you wouldn’t do it anymore. Maybe go to 3 and make 2, as a rule. But I don’t like that, so I don’t know.”
Said Griffin, “It’s definitely not fun to be a part of, but I don’t really know how you change it.”
And Jordan, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 12th double-double in the last 17 games, said, “I feel like it’s boring for the fans to watch, but it’s a good strategy if you feel like guys can’t make free throws and you feel like the teams going to come down and score, then why not?”