Despite the score indicating otherwise, Mark Jackson is standing by his "Hack-a-Dwight" strategy
Warriors coach Mark Jackson utilized a tactic that we've seen used before, particularly on Shaquille O'Neal in his prime. The Warriors fouled Howard damn near every time he touched the ball anywhere in the vicinity of the basket.
The final result? Well... obviously a loss for the Warriors, and some pretty nice fantasy numbers for Howard. And, as Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out after the game, an absolute atrocity for the fans.
Despite the final numbers on the scoreboard (and the stat sheet), Jackson is sticking to his guns, saying that his strategy was sound.
"I can understand people thinking, ‘Why?’ But don’t get caught up in the free throws. Think about the times we didn’t foul him. It was dunks, hooks, plays at the rim. He’s a great player and a bad free-throw shooter. We were giving ourselves the best possible chance by messing up their rhythm."
The thing is, it didn't mess up anyone's rhythm. Sure, Howard was a pretty embarrassing 21 for 39 from the free throw line. But we know he's a lousy free throw shooter. That's the point of the whole strategy. But it's hard to believe that this neutralized Howard when he put up one of the highest scoring games of his career.
SB Nation breaks it down in terms of offensive efficiency, and confirms the hunch that most people already had: Howard's efficiency was actually higher from the free throw line than it was from the floor.
Another key stat: Warriors big men David Lee and Andris Biedrins both fouled out. It only took Biedrins, their best center, 21 minutes.
In the end, the tactic backfired big time on the Warriors. Clearly Dwight wasn't hampered at all, the Magic still won, and if anything, it took the Warriors out of their game.
Most importantly... THINK ABOUT THE FANS, MAN!!! If you watched this entire game, I tip my cap to you. I couldn't do it.