The Hack-a-Shaq in NBA Basketball

As what is known as the Hack-a-Shaq strategy is fixing to become a major theme of three Western conference playoff series, and because I heard Reggie Miller butcher the concept during his Clippers-Spurs broadcast last night, I am feeling the urge to give my readers my thoughts on this strategy. Here they are:  

It’s not too hard to figure out that the Hack-a-Shaq is a good strategy when already in the bonus, against a FT shooter below 50%.

It becomes more complicated when you’re not yet in the bonus — because the ability to take free fouls is quite valuable. It doesn’t cost you even a fraction of a point in equity, and might save you an easy score when you take it. This is why you usually see coaches waiting until the ends of quarters to start it.

It also becomes more complicated as the FT shooter’s % rises towards 50. At 50% the Hack-a-Shaq can be expected to cost you 1 ppp. That is right about where most team’s offensive efficiency is: Clippers 1.09, Warriors 1.08, Mavs 1.06, Spurs 1.05, etc. So how much can you really hope to gain by this strategy?

The answer is this: The Hack-a-Shaq strategy is really only valuable in one situation: When you are losing, and time is limited. It accomplishes two things:

1) Time management. Instead of allowing the opponent to run down the clock, it ends their possession after a few short seconds. Thus allowing you to extend the game by many extra possessions, and giving yourself a much greater chance of getting lucky.

2) Raises the variance. This can be a somewhat difficult concept to grasp for those not schooled as I am in poker and gambling. What raising your variance in basketball basically means is exaggerating the tails of your expected results without necessarily changing your overall point differential expectation. Let’s say that with two minutes left against a relatively equal team, your overall expectation is that neither team will outscore the other, and each team will score 5 points. If you were down by 7 in this spot, that would be very grim news. But if you could find a strategy that would result in more frequent exaggerated outcomes of one team scoring 8 more points than the other, it would obviously pay you to choose this strategy. It costs you nothing if you lose by 8 more points, but you will win the game those times you outscore your opponent by 8. Those times when your opponent struggles at the line and you get lucky with your threes. So again, raising the variance, like time management, increases your chance of getting lucky while not necessarily increasing your expected efficiency.

Because of these two factors, it is possible that the Hack-a strategy could become valuable against 60% and even 70% shooters as time starts winding down. You should be able to see this by the fact that when losing with less than 30 seconds left, coaches start fouling even the best FT shooter on the court. What they are doing, whether they understand the concept or not, is helping their team by raising the variance.

Reggie Miller stated during the Clippers game that he thinks the Hack-a-Shaq strategy only works when you are already ahead in the game. This is of course ass-backwards and utterly nonsensical.  Whenever you are ahead in the game as time runs down, your goal should be to run the clock as much as possible, and decrease the variance in outcomes as much as possible. Right?

Hope this makes some sense to you and will be of use when trying to get into the minds of Pop, Carlisle and Monty going forward.

One other note: I suppose I should give my opinion on whether the Hack-a-Shaq is good for basketball, as this is about to become a hot-button topic. My opinion is that it is not only good for basketball, but is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for basketball:

It is the only possible defense against teams choosing to play a freakishly giant monster with no discernible basketball skills. Hence the name. (Sorry, Shaq.)

Lesser mortals like DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala are simply collateral damage.

Or, one might argue, they are simply victims of their own lack of application and vanity. (The Rick Barry method is proven, simple and available to all.)

I like everything about the rule: The chess matches it inspires, the exposure of Achilles heels — and genuine fear — in otherwise invincible players, the reversals of fortune, the moments when time stands still and everyone holds their breath while a multi-millionaire NBA star steps up to the line to attempt a simple feat that every schoolkid with a dream has practiced a thousand times.

155 Responses to The Hack-a-Shaq in NBA Basketball

  1. thanks again, guv’nor felt. we’re fortunate to have these final insights from you to remember. t’was my contention after the first game, with GS just hitting .62 of their foul shots, though that percentage isn’t quite a bright green light to adopt fouling as a primary defensive tactic, it’s low enough to make it a potential option, certainly a means of altering the tempo if it’s unfavorable.

    on another subject, for those of us who still see the older, semi-loco barnes as a better n.b.a. defender than lacob’s barnes, ballard on si.com put together a portrait. the rivers gang could be the most resented of the rivals in the minds of GS partisans, but matt barnes going to the white house for a champion’s reception would be quite a chapter in his story.

  2. cosmicballoon

    Thanks Felt! Reggie Miller should do some homework before spouting off!

    Toward the end of the regular season Pop used the Hack-a-Josh Smith against the Rockets with 6 minutes left AND THE LEAD. It slowed the game down, kept the ball out of Harden’s hands and Smith wound up 12-26 from the stripe for the game. The Spurs won 104-103.

    It didn’t seem like a strong strategy to hack, so I think it was Pop simply trying to experiment before the playoffs. The only justification I would come up with, was that Houston is a 3-point shooting team, so he was stopping them from even taking 3s. It felt very odd, and only sort of worked. As you point out in this post, it slowed the game down unnecessarily and provided Houston with extra possessions too early in the game.

    • That game was in Houston, right? Maybe Pop’s starters were tired?

      • cosmicballoon

        I’m not sure. I think Pop has done perhaps his best coaching job this season. The Spurs are legitimately old, injured (Parker), and probably not as talented as about half the NBA, yet they are considered a title favorite. Unfortunately the Clippers are exposing them by going right at them. Interested to see what the game 2 adjustments are from Pop.

  3. It’s not like NO isn’t putting up a fight. And this is a hobbled, depleted squad. Is Anderson hurt? He only played 9 minutes. Also hardly the toughest defensive team they’ll face, yet two lackluster quarters.

    Warming up, right?

  4. Putting a 50% free throw shooter on the line for 2 shots every trip lowers variance rather than raising it. (Unless you are folding point 2 into point 1 and considering all the extra possessions, but then why have a separate point.).

  5. cosmicballoon

    Just saw this on GSoM: Warriors are +47 in 84 minutes when Green is on the floor; -30 in 12 minutes with Green off the floor in this series.

  6. Not going to recap last night’s game. So far, the matchup has been sticking to script.

    One NO player I didn’t give enough credit to is Norris Cole. He’s been terrific on both sides of the ball.

  7. Tom Penn on why the Warriors are so good.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:12708253

  8. Hopefully we don’t see more Davis/Pondexter/Cole lineups in NO.

    https://twitter.com/thecity2/status/590553761090777090

  9. Warriors not exactly dominating.
    Pelicans won 1st. and 3rd quarters ,
    Warriors 2nd and 4th.

    Guess Livingston did well
    scoring three points and having 4
    assists in 10 minutes on the court.
    Like his plus seven.

  10. Kerr made a very significant change to his rotation in last night’s game, taking out Draymond early in the first Q (at the same time he always takes out Klay), so that Dray could come back and play with the second unit (read Shaun Livingston). This move came as such a surprise to Dray that he briefly got into it on the bench with Kerr.

    http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20150420&game=NORGSW

    Quite obvious that Kerr is searching for ways to keep his bench unit from sucking too badly. Playing Draymond 42 minutes so he can lift them up looks like his current solution.

    • d’mond protested because he saw davis staying on the court, and he’s obviously taken the NO demigod (will become the megastar when age catches james, so they say) as his personal mission. and if NO keeps playing davis nearly 48 min., he will not have the legs to sustain his defense, especially with d’mond everywhere on the court offensively and leading fast breaks.

  11. If the Warriors win this series, it may largely be because NO wears out and breaks down. 45 minutes for Davis, 41 for Evans last night. They can’t sustain the effort the whole 48 minutes, 6 or 7 (or 4 or 5) games. Are Holiday and Anderson healthy and ready enough to do anything?

    Kerr said he made a mistake not staying with his subs longer the first game. We saw the effects immediately of putting Speights and Barbosa in and turning them loose and getting them scoring early—they changed the momentum of the game. While we may have questions about their defensive abilities—though both have greatly improved—what should be made of the units the first game who couldn’t score—or defend?

    Kerr just feels defensive in the negative sense of the word—he’s playing not to lose. In fact he reminds me of Livingston in his caution and reserve. And the major question remains—if Curry and Thompson are slowed down, can Green, Barnes, and Bogut pick up the offense? This, along with low bench scoring, has been the theme for years. The results so far are not promising, this against a stretched and depleted New Orleans.

    Somebody tell me how good Barnes was on defense last night. Every time I looked, he was a quarter step or more behind.

    • if holiday and anderson had been healthy for the season including the present, NO would not be the bottom seed and much less dependent on the inconsistent (presently dinged up) evans. even with holiday and anderson, davis does not have the same surrounding cast and coaching that curry gets to benefit from. we should also expect further reassessment of d’mond coming from the national media as a result of this series.

      one of the legacies of kommissar stern was boosting the fortunes of two hapless, oligarch owners, sterling and benson. NO (and Mem) should be realigned into the eastern conference, but we probably won’t see it happen.

      • Kerr took a risk playing the Blurr, MoS, and SL and early (especially SL), whereas a lot of coaches would just play Curry, Green, and Thompson 40+ to be safe (and Bogut as much as they could risk his body holding-up).

    • cosmicballoon

      Calm yourself! How is Kerr playing not to lose?!? The Warriors are pushing the pace (fast break points), and throwing the kitchen sink at AD who is a top 3 player in the NBA. If Davis wasn’t on the floor, these are 30 pt blowoutals, I guarantee it. Davis is a nightmare on both ends of the court, and he’s playing 45 minutes because he has to.

      • Part of the problem is that they haven’t played any pressure games in about a month, games that would get them in playoff form. No one’s fault, of course. The supposedly tough closing stretch turned out not to be so tough at all. They played well, got many breaks, and were never pushed from behind. The Memphis surge just never happened.

  12. Apparently Lee’s back has been bothering him for a while—”late in the season” is the report. (So why was he playing extensive garbage time?)

  13. “Through two games, the Warriors have outscored the Pelicans by 57 points in the 84 minutes Green has been on the court. When Green’s been on the bench — those 12 long minutes over two games — the Warriors have been outscored by 30 points.”

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/21/8461049/draymond-green-warriors-contract-context-nba-playoffs-2015

    As the article says, it’s hard to separate Green’s play from the context for his play – the teammates he plays with, game situations, etc. But still. Wow.

    • the ‘surrounding cast’ rationalization has its limits. if the pundits really observed how those other GS players are playing when d’mond is on the court, their responses consistently anticipate him making the correct plays, fast breaks, switching, passes, screens, boards, on both ends, in other words he’s leading more than complementing. what talent did d’mond have around him in college, or curry, compared to what mr. barnes had as a tar heel (three other draft picks).

      • VERY good point, moto, and it re-emphasizes how hard it is to quantify Green’s contribution. He has a team-wide effect, so his individual numbers don’t completely reflect his impact.

        • cosmicballoon

          He reminds me a bit of Stephen Jackson on We Believe. Always making key plays at the key time, and never backing down to anyone.

        • Lacob will have to pay a max contract. Hope he’s up to it and don’t go by his previously professed “we like size at every position”. Either that or he might insist Green is moved to the 3.

          • What will happen is Green will get a contract elsewhere and Warriors will match it. Thanks to Arena, warriors have his bird rights. Easy job for Myers and saves him from all negotiations. If Green doesn’t get a good offer, he can take one year contract and then get much more money from 2016 at which time Lee’s contract will be up too.

            Not very good in predictions but think this is how it will play out.

            My 2 cents.

  14. Van Gundy and/or MJax said Saturday it would be an “upset” if the Dubs weren’t crowned champs this year. They may have even used the word major as an adjective also. Talk about a little pressure. I don’t care if we sweep the Pcuns- just wanna make it through (the extra days off would be nice tho). One thing, if GS moves on, the next series won’t feature a players of ADavis’ caliber, other than Steph.

    Stephs got the Shot, AD the Wingspan and Bron the Body. Top 3 guys left standing, real skilled gamechangers you can only gameplan for to a certain extent, the rest you just have to hope for the best

    • Griffin seems like he’s trying to make a statement. If the Clips manage to eliminate the Spurs, Griffin gets a nod.

      • Griffin has all the physical tools but kind of have the same problem moto, felt and others say about Barnes. He doesn’t have the basketball sense or timing like Anthony Davis. Health permitting, Davis will develop into a dominant player like of whom not seen over last 20 years. He has Shaq, Dream and David Robinson in him. Pelicans will win atleast couple of championship before Davis is done. Not this year though, it is Curry’s time.

  15. From the best of Mary Babers-Green’s tweets (Draymond’s mom):

    Come on Dubs…go to HOLE AND DRAW SOME FOULS! I DONT WANT TO HEAR Barkley’s MOUTH!

    • I think Sir Charles would back down from Greens mom.

    • “Ya gotta luv sum free governmental cheese tho! Second best thing 2 free $”

      -Ty Thomas

      • “…there’s a special je ne sais quoi that accompanies the fact that your food is being made by Uncle Sam… For many, recollections of the food transcend its gustatory characteristics…”

        https://munchies.vice.com/articles/wtf-happened-to-government-cheese

        • In ’83, after I graduated High School, my dad got me a killer summer job in Chignik Alaska for salmon season. I came home flush with $ and the first thing I did upon getting back to SF was buy a motorcycle (my parents were in Tahoe). When my Mom saw it hell broke loose, I was threatening to join the navy instead of going to CSUChico, where I had been accepted, to make a long story short I ended up in Chico sans the bike. In our dorm me and my roommate got a brick of USA govt issued cheddar cheese (don’t remember how). We had killer late nite grilled cheese sandwiches/munchies for a month, made over our taboo “trail devil” burner.

          CSU Chico was voted #1 party school in America the previous year in Playboy. Wish I could go back in time. As a young guy..

          • thanks for the h.s./college daze tale, rzz. what kind of motorcycle did you have to give up — my first two motos were suzukis, because they were cheap and powerful. also, is there a correlation, or an alignment of geography and good water that explains how chico and humboldt st. have some of the calif’s best breweries in their regions. do undergrads drink decent brew these days, that would be a change.

          • It was a 350 of Japanese make, Moto, I got it at long-since gone dealership on Van ness and ofarrell, and the salesman had to give me a ride home on the bike as I kept killing the clutch, having never owned a bike. My moms brother had a bad accident previously, and I only got to keep it a few days, selling it back to the dealer and losing a quick700$ I was a bit reckless so maybe it was good thing, as I remember cruising through the park , shifting from 5th to 2nd and almost flying over the handlebarsbut. No helmet either. I just can’t recall the make

            I don’t why Chico is a bit of a hub for the brew, other than the students and Sierra NevAda, which was a bit avant-garde (good but too dark for me). The denizens got sick of the kids shenanigans in 83-84 and finally outlawed “pioneer week”, a real bacchanal, and I finished at SFSU, learning very little as a Small Business Mgmt major along the way. Thnx for givin me an xcuse to reminisce

          • you probably had a honda 350 cc, parallel twin four stroke engine, the model T of durable, fast enough for fun and getting into trouble, street bikes in the 70s and 80s. you probably know the nickname for moto riders in emergency/trauma medical care — ‘organ donors’. there’s an organization in calif that gives safety riding courses, very low cost, they provide the motos. they do a great job and their certificate gives you and automatic pass on the dmv road test for moto certification. SF is ideal for motos with the parking hassles, and unlike many cities there’s plenty of parking set aside for motos and scooters.

  16. The Pelicans deserve credit. How many teams have played the W’s this well in Oakland? They’re legit. High school Hoosier legend Eric Gordon is the real deal (when healthy, tho his D is pedestrian). It’d be nice to see a statement game by GS game 3…
    Omer Asik has been one of the better players on the floor – for the Warriors!

    • Anthony Davis is going to be great, but throughout his career he’s going to get the Curry treatment, entire defenses pounding/pushing/poking/tripping/biting/crowding etc. Against violent bigs (Clippers?) he’s going to get hurt. A lot. It’s the only way to slow him down.

      As much as Asik has been a non-factor against the Ws, Davis is going to need him, just to take off some of the pressure. And as Cs go, Asik isn’t all that bad. He’s got size and skills. He’s just slow and a little passive.

      To win the battle in the paint, big guys need to pull some Ts sometimes. Watching the Houston game last night, seeing Chandler and Howard go at it, showed the difference between an Asik and a Bogut/Howard/Chandler/DeAndre.

      • True on Davis getting Curry treatment. Two birds in a shot, Davis becomes a warrior :-)

      • cosmicballoon

        He’d better make sure to take time off each year. Durant is suffering with foot injuries that seem to be due to over-use on his 6’11” frame. Davis has a similar build, albeit a bit thicker than Durant.

  17. Felt, re your tweet about Isaiah Thomas:

    He’s averaging 22 pts and 8.5 assists/game in the playoffs against Cleveland, but I wonder if “team chemistry” was the reason the Ws let him leave Sacto for Phx, then Boston. Neither of his former teams would take him back, even though they could both use him.

    Personally, I think a team culture as solid as the Ws wouldn’t have a problem with a “problem” player. Draymond and co. would bring him into line PDQ, and how could anyone not be purely humbled by Curry?

    But that’s here and now. Maybe it was worth being concerned about team chemistry at the end of last season.

    • This is the reason Isiah was shipped from Kings and I actually agree with Cousins. Cousins comments after Isiah is Suns.

      ““It’s been incredible, it’s been incredible,” Cousins said. “It’s been a smooth transition. The ball is moving a lot better. It’s not stuck in one place. It’s not being overdribbled by anybody on the floor.””

      Think, he is shipped out of Phoenix for the same reason. These days teams don’t like the over dribblers(Rondo another of such).

  18. Scott Brooks fired. Always thought Durant deserved a better coach, one who will keep the ball off Westbrook and put it in Durant’s more.

    • I didn’t see that coming after all the injuries this year, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing for OKC to have another coach come in and shake things up.

      I wonder if they dropped Brooks because he lost all control of Westbrook.

      • 42 FGA by Westbrook does seem like coach was not in control. Then Reggie Jackson thing went out of control.

        Unless OKC atleast go to finals, I think Brooks was going to be fired.

    • brooks had a honeymoon period in OK but we should all know by now it’s easier to go from mediocre to good, especially replacing carlissimo (roughly comparable to replacing smart), than reach and remain at the next higher level, especially after trading one of your best guys. brooks’ critics were skeptical of his offense even when they were successful ; Cle reached the finals with a bad offense too, after all. whether presti keeps kanter around will also affect what kind of team they have next Oct.

  19. Anyone think it’s odd that this guy links to a piece written by me when saying he “chronicled Curry’s offensive genius in his rookie season”?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jordan-schultz/stephen-curry-the-nbas-best-point-guard_b_6261650.html

    • Whaaaaat?

      Maybe the author “commented” on your article or something. Hardly a public prediction.

      My guess: he’s a filler writer stretching for accreditation.

    • His piece, in fact, is linked in a comment @12 by some guy named “Nivrag.” That link is dead now. The only way he could figure out to give himself credit?

      So what is going to happen to all of your posts and the wonderful comments when the time comes? I’m thinking a flaming ship sent out to sea (was that how the Vikings did it?).

    • Has this move angered you enough to keep you writing?

    • cosmicballoon

      Feltbot, you should contact that dude. Seems really sleazy to me…and his comments did not “chronicle” anything.

    • the curry bandwagon has morphed into a lumbering money train this season. another write up, describing the grandpa’s heritage hoop (he died at 58 when his grandson was just 2), by david fleming on espn.com

  20. Watching the Nets/Hawks, it’s nice to see Bazemore and Jarrett Jack out there. I keep waiting for Bazemore to start break dancing on court, though.

  21. i just had a thought about countering hack a strategy – you have your bad free throw shooter inbound the ball, so, bogut inbounds the ball (now it can be done only after one hack-a was already produced and let’s say bad shooter missed both freethrows), knowing that that he will be hacked – could he stay out of bounds after inbounding the ball, is it against the rules (i would be pressed hard to believe there was a precedent like that)? would a foul on him out of bounds would be considered legal? would his defender/fouler react to that (him staying out of bounds) properly in time, before offense advances enough to play normal four on four?
    i believe if you throw alley oop out of bounds it is still counted, so technically he can stay out of bounds, but the player is not in play, so can you foul him?
    am i digging gold here or just blowing wind?

  22. Decent SI piece on Alvin Gentry here: http://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/22/alvin-gentry-warriors-assistant-stephen-curry-steve-nash

    Points of interest:
    “To say you can’t win a championship playing a particular way, I don’t agree with that. You coach your team by utilizing the talent you have.”

    “Obviously I would like to be a head coach again, but only if it’s a good situation,” Gentry said. “I have no desire to be a head coach just to be a head coach.”

      • cosmicballoon

        OKC is what Zach Lowe is saying is the ideal situation for Gentry. Whether or not he stays with the Warriors, he has made an immense impact on the team.

        The one thing about Gentry — I don’t think he sleeps much, judging by his eyes during the halftime interviews. The guy has a lot of stress to begin with — not sure if he’s interested in taking on the head coaching burden.

        • You may be right, but I suspect that if Gentry were offered the OKC job he’d take it. More pay and more freedom to explore his coaching philosophies. It could be the capstone of his coaching career, and I don’t think the lifestyle of a head coach is that different from what he’s doing now.

          With a healthy Durant, taking the OKC job would be like Kerr’s choice of the Warriors, a good team needing only good coaching. I can’t imagine a better opportunity for Gentry. It would be awesome if he turned it down, but I don’t think even Kerr would ask him to.

        • WheresMyChippy

          I’ve been working on a theory that Gentry takes a some dabs at every half time. There is no other explanation for the redness of that man’s eyes haha.

    • Gentry here or elsewhere really doesn’t talk about his own ideas about strategy, which is just good policy. You have to wonder, however, how much weight he carries and how much influence he’s had. At any rate, it sounds like he’s serious about wanting to take charge elsewhere.

      The statistics and graphs are impressive, in fact marvelous. But they only tell us how well the Warriors performed against 3/4 of the NBA, how well they could engineer the defensive up tempo push and point differential. How well they perform against the top teams in playoff competition remains the question.

  23. Pop deploying hack-a-Jordan in a big way with the Spurs ahead and 4 minutes to go in the game. Jordan missed 7 straight FTs and then made the last 2 of 3.

  24. What a game by Mills.

    • SA won’t go far unless mills, joseph, diaw, belinelli make plays for them, with duncan, leonard, green the core. parker and ginobili don’t look close to their earlier playoff incarnations.

      • Parker has a bum wheel, limiting his quickness. Ginobili is getting pounded continuously, and not getting foul calls, at least so far.

        In the end, I still think it will be Spurs on top, because they’re getting open shots, just not sinking them.

        At the same time I have been very impressed by the Clips. One thing I’ve noticed is that they’ve changed their rotation. No more full-squad substitutions, they’re leaving starters out there with 2nd-unit players, just like the Ws. Major minutes for Chris Paul.

        It was also interesting seeing Leonard switched on Griffin sometimes. Draymond handles him better. Also, Bogut > Splitter on D, by a country mile.

        • If clippers cut down on few mistakes, it is their series. Do you think an old team like Spurs with half fit Parker can win two in a row ?

          • Yup.

            The home court advantage is a well-documented, real, phenomenon. I doubt it has much to do with the players – they have to tune out everything around them – but it almost certainly affects officiating.

            If Ginobili and the Spurs start getting calls for all the cheap hits they’ve been taking, this series should wrap up quickly.

  25. They just announced Draymond didn’t get DPOY. That’s a bad call for Draymond, but it’s going to turn out to be even worse for the Pelicans.

  26. hat, on home court, players visibly play with lot more energy at home, better shooting %ages and better D. Warriors 39-2 at home is the proof for the same. Doesn’t mean, they will win every game though. Only few players like Reggie Miller and Stephen Curry to name couple don’t seem to be deterred by road games.

  27. Ethan Strauss tweet (from FastBreak) —

    “Asik is -10, Anderson is +23. Warriors just have to hope Monty never figures it out.”

    Monty figured it out.

  28. Fabulous game but no time to recap until the weekend. Have at it.

  29. Sheesh.

    They found another way to win. The New Orleans defense was good, but also the Warriors have no inside presence—I was waiting for Bogut to pick up here. He can’t take on Asik? So the Warriors didn’t get good shots off all night.

    But with the small ball unit in, they focused on offensive rebounds, which finally gave them second chance points down low. With Bogut in, he leaves the lane early to get back on defense.They average 12 offensive rebounds. Tonight 22, Draymond 7. (Where do you get the stat on second chance points?)

    There was cause to question many calls and missed calls (Bogut wrapping up Davis) but there is no way that they call that off the ball foul on Thompson in a playoff game with seconds to go.

    • d’mond provided the lever in the fourth with his offensive boards. if he executed against the NO superstar, what does that make him ?

  30. One of the sneakiest tricks I’ve ever seen a coach pull. After 11 quarters of strategically NOT crashing the offensive boards, the Ws threw everyone at it at game end. A huge changeup, it caused havoc for NO, and it paid off. What a game!

    One note on the end of regulation: Curry was fouled on his tying bucket. If the refs had called it properly, there would have been no OT.

    • can’t blame the officials for trying to keep the NO fans involved in the series (even while they were winning their owner looked like he wanted to be elsewhere). the refs fouled d’mond out for casual contact, and that might have turned the tide back for the home team.

    • +1 on both points.

  31. With your omniscience, feltbot, I know you were smirking as the 4th began, even with the Dubs down 20. The Sweep was foretold…

    What a game

    • Do the omniscient ever doubt their omniscience?

      • What I’m trying to say is, I doubt I’m omniscient. I don’t think I could… not sure.

        • One more to go, then you can make your next prognostication. Being omniscient not all its cracked up to be, so I hear

          My brother was gonna go watch something else with the wife at the start of the 4th. I encouraged him to hang in there. Close as I get to prophecy

          I was browsing some NOrleans media this morning. They’re calling for Montes’ head on a bloody stump. Seems like a capable guy, but how do you lose that game?

  32. – game should never have gone to OT. Curry FT should have ended it. Kerr needs to pipe up about this publicly again – might get curry a call in a later series that they might need.

    – Kerr played livingston right… With the starters/smallball unit. He had a nasty putback of his own miss that I can’t find the replay of. He is a natural playground player.

    – Still, liv should never shoot that backdown turnaround if Klay is on the court. Or Mo. Any shot they take is going to be higher %

    – Mo’s got intangibles

    – I saw barnes get blown by, by Evans, but his late three and putback were key. I don’t think the Ws played bad D. NO was just hot, nailing shots. Anderson can do that, he’s been hurt all year.

    – Ws showed a lot of heart. No doubt. But this was a gift from Monty, who inexplicably went away from Anderson, and also was content to have Davis play high post facilitator for much of the night. Baffling. The game was NOs to win at a number of junctures. Credit the Ws for snatching it.

    – Kwahi is a beast but I’m sorry, DPOY in a season where he missed a big chunk of games? Dray brought his hardhat and lunchbox every single day, taking on all comers. He is a class act for saying nice things about Kwahi. He was robbed here. I sense the NBA marketing machine at work.

    – Ws have a chance to go far if Klay, Liv and Blur keep taking it to the goddamn hole. HB and Iguodala will not do it, inexplicably.

    – Finally, not terrifically impressed with Iguodala’s playoff defense – yet. Have yet to see him in a passing lane. Hoping he’s saving it for deeper in the run.

  33. Is Livingston a better small forward than Barnes and Iguodala both on offense and defense?

    • I had the same question. In this series, Livingston is better than Iguodala at SF. Iguodala is playing worst I have ever seen him.

      As per Barnes, Livingston can’t do few things that Barnes can do at SF:

      * Switch to PF
      * Rebound
      * Shoot 3 to stretch the floor

      All the above 3, on display in 4th quarter from Barnes.

      Livingston provides ball handling that Barnes can’t but with all the other four able to handle the ball, team can live with Barnes. I actually like the line up of Curry, Klay, Iguodala, Barnes and Green get some burn. To me, that is 2nd best line up behind the start 5.

  34. ESPN Stats & Info:

    The Warriors improved to 3-3 this season when trailing by at least 20 points,

    The rest of the NBA is 12-433 when trailing by at least 20.

  35. Kerr, post game, said he didn’t know how to explain what happened 4th. quarter, only half jokingly I’m sure. Monty Williams didn’t either, and that’s the point.

    I suspect Kerr’s idea was that the game was lost and he’d throw in the subs plus a few starters just to see if their freshness could get something going, just in case.

    (Continuing my thought @29) The now conventional wisdom is that working for offensive boards at the expense of getting back on defense, especially your lumbering center, pays off in percentages, in the long run, and that’s true I’m sure. But going small fourth quarter put faster players on the floor, who still have length, who can adapt and be more flexible. Going for offensive boards not only gave them second chances, it also broke down the defense and opened up possibilities for the other players—Barnes, Green, Livingston—who had been shut down all night.

    It helps, of course, that NO is not a top tier team and was trying to protect what should have been an overwhelming lead. GS did the same the first game, and watched a 25 point lead dissipate.

    There are many ways to construct a team. One is to devise a system and fit players into it. This leads perhaps to odds in the long run, but also predictability. Another is to find ways to turn individual players loose and exploit their talents. Curry is a master at improvisation and sudden surprises. Green, especially at center, can find all kinds of ways to contribute and disrupt, given his intelligence and better mobility.

    Score one for chaos and individual talent.

    • Meant to add—I assume Mo was in the last seconds of regulation because of his free throw shooting ability.

  36. Love the probability chart in this article:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/04/24/how-unlikely-was-golden-state-comeback-with-09-on-clock-warriors-had-6-5-chance/

    With one shot, Curry changed the win probability for his team by 45%. With his NEXT shot, it went up another 25%. Cool.

  37. So I text my friend bfore the game warriors by 15, saying that Ws have’t been shooting well and are due to break out and pelicans are young and will screw up during a must game.

    Warriors come out with 4 threes by currythomspon, I text him – easy win, then warriors proceed to shoot bad and my friend says, not close to a blowout. I say – fool’s gold, warriors resting/saving thompson and green after a bad 2nd foul, soon davis will get tired playing without substitutions, but lo and behold davis sits down and pelicans continue to play good with him resting.

    I text my friend since everything I say turns out opposite, it will be pelicans by 20, and no more texting.

    I thought I was joking, but at the end of third Ws were down 20, and i was confused about how my powers of influencing/determining outcomes of some small cosmic events operated.

    But I kept watching, and Ws managed to win, and so for that night I was happy with my marvel angent functions and achievements.

    I’m gonna go to barbecue/sit out tomorrow night before warriors game and look my friend in the eye and have a big grin, then i will have two beers, one cigar and zero shame.

    • “…two beers, one cigar, and zero shame.”

      A surefire recipe for a happy life. Apply liberally. Repeat as necessary.

    • The objective world is the end result of inner action. You can indeed manipulate the objective world from within, for this is the means and definition of true manipulation…

      Thoughts and images are formed into physical reality and become physical fact. They are propelled chemically. A thought IS energy. It begins to produce itself physically at the moment of its conception.
      The initial thought or image exists within the mental enclosure. It is not yet physical. Then it is sparked into physical materialization by the mental enzymes.

      This is the general procedure. All such images and thoughts are not completely materialized in your terms, however. The intensity may be too weak.

      The physical environment is as much a part of you, then, as your body. Objects are composed of the same pseudo-material that radiates outward from your own physical image, only the higher intensity mass is different. When it is built up enough, you recognize it as an object. At low intensity mass it is not apparent to you.

      In your system of reality you are learning what mental energy is, and how to use it. You do this by constantly transforming your thoughts and emotions into physical form. You are supposed to get a clear picture of your inner development by perceiving the exterior environment. What seems to be a perception, an objective concrete event independent from you, is instead the materialization of your own inner emotions, energy, and mental environment.

      —I’m not the author of this stuff Martin. But its good and your post reflects on it. And like you, I’ll be enjoying a couple beers and zero shame tomorrow nite.

      • You left out the cigar, rzzz. Did Martin say you could do this without a cigar?

        • There are two most prominent theories in regards to cigars and abilities to agent marvel – one, which I follow, is known as indirect causal interference – popularly known as there’s no smoke without fire.
          The other, less appealing for some reasons, is known as – this is not a cigar – and usually is followed by people, who consider the marvel to be precisely the illusion (in abscence of a real one) of marvel.

      • New age Berkeleyism, otherwise known as solispism, is neither provable, nor refutable. Castaneda, though, was fun.
        But sometimes one just simply accepts that falling down by stumbling on something not perceived is all one needs to know that maybe shit causes me firstly and not the other way around.
        In other words, if you close our eyes, your ears and walk backwards in an unknown environment, i would bet that you hit something and the ground sooner and less smoothly than you can emanate its image from intense conscious energy, or aquired knowledge from previous environments.
        So, i would, however slightly, put myself in the chain of causation a bit afterwards environment, even though, of course, i can feedback manipulate it, but not to a degree that i can cause birth to myself.

        • This somehow puts me in mind of Steve Martin’s quote regarding his philosophy studies: “[P]hilosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.”

          My dad was a philosophy prof, and I studied just enough of it to become not quite sane.

          • philosophy, in broader, not academic way, just says – unexamined life is not woth living.
            i’d rather say it unscrews one up.

          • have addressed you as Professor Rubin because you’ve earned it on your own merits, but learning about your honorable antecedent verifies its propriety.

        • Call me a gullible new-ager but this is stuff from my “Bible”. Sometimes things just strike a chord with you and you can sense the truth. It can also be laughable to others. I 100% feel that this 3-dimensional reality is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re trapped by our five senses and have to play the drama out. This physical “reality” is created by human conciousness, which leaves it all behind upon the death experience, conciousness being the thing of permanence. I want to try to expound on this a bit more (for example, the creation of the universe) before the plug is pulled on this blog, or the world,
          But it’s Friday nite right now and I’m going to indulge my senses

          • Great post, rzz. Looking froward to more.

          • i’m not mocking you, it is very difficult to argue against idealism, especially since it is not scientific proposition, and so it is not susceptible to method of falsification – where you can’t construct a possible world/conditions where it could be ruled out – in the end the idealist can always say – if there’s no one to experience anything how can one be sure if anything at all exists.
            so, for materialist, the primacy of material/hard physical world is probably something more akin to acceptance of epistemological limitations of thinking in regards to what causes it, and so requires hard and collective work to understand it and change it that way, while for idealist things run more etherlly, since reality depends on will and as such is not beyond his abilities as a limited being to manipulate.
            it’s an imperative ”you can do it” and one less so demanding ”you might be able to do it, if there be conditions for it”, since i know you can’t have a square circle, i tend to fall into latter group.

  38. “There are few things more satisfying in sport…”

    That really was delightful!

    I wonder when people will quit writing off the Pop and Timmy show.

  39. Zach Lowe tweet:

    Kings taking on extra $$ to move three spots DOWN in Kawhi draft and pick Jimmer 10th remains maybe most inexplicable trade in last decade.

  40. klaymation @4: I should have made more explicit that when trailing in limited time, you should be pursuing a three heavy strategy on offense. That will certainly raise variance, no?

    You are probably correct that fouling a 50% shooter reduces the variance PER POSSESSION for an opponent with a 1ppp offensive efficiency. But it increases the variance in their total output, by extending the game and getting them more possessions.

    And at the same time you’re raising your own variance, per possession, by shooting threes. And by incorporating the element of time management and stretching the game, greatly increasing the variance in the final score.

    Variance and time management work together, as you note, but they are still two distinct concepts. OK?

    marc @23: With a 40% FTer like DeAndre Jordan (now 38% playoffs), it could be correct to play Hack-a-Shaq with him at almost any time of the game, losing, winning, no matter. You’d gladly force a .8 ppp on an offensive team like the Clippers. And you would gladly force Doc to think about yanking the Clippers defensive linchpin off the floor.

    But I think there are at least a couple of exceptions even to this:

    1) When you have a big lead with limited time. It makes little sense to extend the game in this case. Even hacking a bad FT shooter might yield more bad results than simply playing it out.

    2) When winning by one or two on the final possession. It’s clearly wrong here, even if legal (it’s not).

    • Thanx Felt. My observation was the strategy was not effective overall (the strategy was employed by Pop near to the end of the 1st half with his team ahead). As I remember, Pop didn’t go back to it in the 2nd half, and it was a tight game.

  41. Lee active for the game tonight, from Strauss tweet (he was suited up but inactive last game?).

    Ellis gets no breaks. I regret we couldn’t have seen the Dallas/Houston series without Rondo.

  42. “I can recall the exact moment when I knew the Pelicans were actually going to lose to the Warriors. It was when Anthony Davis stepped up to the free throw line and missed the first of two free throws with 9.6 seconds left… You just knew that someone, likely human basketball freak Steph Curry, would hit a ridiculous three to send the game into overtime..”

    A first-person account of a Pelican fan’s heartbreak.

    http://uproxx.com/dimemag/2015/04/steph-curry-warriors-pelicans/

  43. The new Warrior arena is taking shape:

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/12/10/revised-golden-state-warriors-san-francisco-arena-plan-unveiled/

    Another picture here:

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/04/15/golden-state-warriors-plan-to-break-ground-on-mission-bay-arena-in-2016/

    “Most of our players are in their 20’s. The future of the world is being determined by 20-somethings in the Bay Area right now and being close to those companies that are really charting the future of the world is a pretty attractive thing,” Welts said at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Forum on Tuesday. “You put all those things together and this really sets the table for sustained success for the Warriors for 30 years into the future.”

    “The only sticking point right now is, we have to pay for this, which is a daunting task,” Welts said. “It’s a billion dollars of private money with no public investment at all.”

    I’m trying to decide what it looks like now. Tupperware comes to mind.

    • Have they tried asking Lacob’s ex-wife for the money?

    • rgg, basketball is a bull market sport, as its comparatively non-violent. As a bear market progress, football becomes ever more popular and basketball and baseball wain.

      If a bear market and ensuing recession starts now or within months from now, that new facility might never get built. (Lacobs ex might even cut back on shoes and new outfits.)

      • An analogy would be the Roman games (maybe moto or rgg can check me on this). At first they were actual competition. Rough and risky of death or injury, yes. In time, as the empire was descending into deflation and corruption, the games became ever more violent and then actually sadistic. Our society would never descend to such levels, just that the analogy of the more violent sports becoming more popular. And new and large construction projects are not started as much during recessions as near to bull market peaks.

        • “Our society would never descend to such levels…”

          I highly recommend the book Slow Getting Up by Nate Jackson, a former NFL player. You’ll never again see football as anything but sadistic gladiatorial contests.

        • Marc, if you care to invest the time to gain more than a superficial knowledge of Roman society and culture, an approach similar to study of judeo-xtyin religions (where some knowledge of Roman history is also useful of course) would be a start. the ‘old testament’ is substantially different than the ‘new’ ; republican Rome wasn’t the same as imperial Rome (augustus and after). in what passes for hearsay familiarity with Roman history in our country, more than a millennium gets conflated.

          the traditions behind the gladiatorial games (at times serving a dual need as public executions) and the hellenic olympic games have a common motive — training men for war. there were also religious ceremonies associated with both, though by imperial Roman times these were likely more a cynical veneer than they were when the Greek city-states met in peacetime or truce period competition. some of the hellenic games weren’t obvious forms of weapon training, while gladiatorial contests by definition were (latin for ‘sword’).

          in republican times, males from aristocratic families were expected to do military service (not unlike Britannia or France while they had their empires). they probably did some of their weapons training mixing it up with men from the lower ranks ; after all, once on the battlefield if they weren’t in the highest ranks (and in republican times the highest ranks were expected to get blood and grime and viscera on them), they’d be mixing it up with common soldiers.

          clearly, the public spectacle of gladiatorial competition with hardened metal weapons and armor could only go on if the participants were the lowest dregs, slaves, or captives. the word for arena comes from the basic material we’d now call ‘landscaping’ that makes cleaning up blood and viscera quick and simple. the oligarchs didn’t sponsor them until late republican times, when differences in wealth and power between the classes widened, and the scale of the republic’s wars of ‘pacification’ supplied plenty of prisoners, slaves, loot. the Spartacus slave rebellion occurred in the late republic.

      • This is about wealthy men constructing monuments to their sense of their importance, and they design buildings to match—large, attention getting, yet abstract and characterless and sterile. They are monuments to nothing. Note how little the design reflects or reinforces the character and history and people of San Francisco. Rather it ignores these. There is no sense of civic recognition or support whatsoever. Note, too, how they look at their clientele, as they do their players (watch their ads), as they must themselves, the twenty-somethings they see as the future, who presumably will be rich enough to buy the elevated prices for season tickets.

      • what do you know about lacob’s first wife, Marc ? it’s the so called fiancee (nicole?) who attends the games with him and had the celebrated friendship with the great ellis’ spouse. the first wife turned over quite a bit of the divorce settlement back to the future oligarch, kirk, via a trust fund which in turn became his stake in the team.

        • Thanx moto, ignorant and sexist comment on my part. I’ve been known to buy a shirt or shoes I don’t need.

    • Better renderings here:

      http://www.manicaarchitecture.com/projects/arena/41-san-francisco-arena

      Apparently they changed architects. I wonder how much $ they have dropped so far on plans, etc. for this and the previous proposal.

      • I’m sure a ton. It’s not uncommon for projects to be fully designed, then dropped. Less common if all the permits are approved and in hand.

    • “…with no public investment at all.”

      Well, not exactly. It’s being built in an urban development zone, so gov’t funds, loans and loan guarantees are available. In addition, while SF city gov’t has been mum about the project, it would be shocking if they didn’t at least provide additional loan guarantees, free development of surrounding infrastructure, free parking, and, when in operation, extra (free) traffic management and law enforcement. No public “investment”maybe. No public funds? Not the case.

  44. GooseLosGatos

    The Warriors have had a harder time playing against a slowed-down offense (Memphis). The games have been more competitive that most want to admit.

    Very curious to see how a Memphis series goes….

    That being said, the Warriors still are the favorite…..

    The scary thing is what will happen when A. Davis is surrounded by better players. With all due respect to Steph, if you exchanged both players (yes, not a ‘clean’ calculation’) with equally talented teams Davis’s team would have the superior record – I’m sure of it.

  45. Livingston huge in 4th quarter
    of third game. Perfect fit for
    small ball especially
    with Iggy and Barnes sfruggling
    Terrific passes first half tonight.

  46. Light up that cigar, Martin!

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