Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/24/12
As a watcher and lover of basketball, I despise few things more than the hack-a-whoever strategy. It bogs down play, it makes a potentially thrilling game a monotonous shuffle to the free throw line and it does not even work most of the time. Yet when the alternative is letting a healthy Dwight Howard completely dominate your post defenders or allowing two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash to carve you up while Shaquille O’Neal on the floor, intentionally fouling is an admirable strategy because it reveals a willingness to at least try to do something. So throughout the Clippers’ win streak, which hit 13 straight games with Sunday’s blowout win in Phoenix, I found myself watching the highlights or reading the box score and yelling at my computer screen: “Why aren’t you fouling DeAndre Jordan?” It would make sense, and it is preferable to the “Let Chris Paul throw lobs to Blake Griffin” defense that everyone seems to be running against the Clippers these days. Jordan is a 41 percent free throw shooter, and although he takes less than seven field goal attempts per game, fouling a poor foul shooter away from the ball was part of teams’ game plans well before Gregg Popovich started doing it to screw with Shaq’s head. And still, game after game, the “free throws attempted” column next to Jordan’s name reads single-digits or even zeroes. After watching Jordan take only two foul shots in Sunday’s debacle against the Suns, I had just about enough and decided to do some quick research to uncover the truth for a very annoyed column. As they say, the truth shall set you free. Because I am contractually required to watch every Celtics game, I have watched only three full Clippers games during the streak: a 105-104 win over Utah on Dec. 3, an 88-76 win over Detroit on Dec. 17 and the 103-77 beatdown of Phoenix. The latter two games were relatively lopsided, so it did not seem odd that Jordan played a total of zero minutes in the fourth quarter of both. OK, the Pistons game was a three-point contest at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Clippers immediately went on a 12-4 run. I figured coach Vinny Del Negro simply decided to keep Jordan on the bench for an extended rest at the end of a four-game road trip. Then I discovered that, blowout or nail-biter, Jordan sitting out the final 12 minutes is standard operating procedure. He averages more than 25 minutes per game but only 4.8 minutes per fourth quarter. The last time he appeared in the fourth quarter of a game was back in that Dec. 3 game against the Jazz — and still the Jazz never sent him to the line. (He even made the game-altering block in the final seconds.) But Tyrone Corbin‘s late-game foibles are another topic for another time. Granted, Del Negro has not had much reason to play any of his starters of late — nine of their 13 straight wins have been by double-digits — but that makes the Clippers’ strategy even more extreme. Not only do they generally not play Jordan down the stretch in tight games, when his poor foul shooting could be a liability. They basically do not play him down the stretch at all, even with wide leads, when presumably he would get an opportunity to gain some experience taking free throws in the fourth quarter, in a game that counts in the standings, with very little riding on it. This is remarkable to me. The Clippers are taking a guy they have deemed, based on salary, to be the third-most important member of their roster, and are essentially cutting his potential production by 25 percent. They are saying, “Listen, D.J. We really love your shot-blocking, even if there is no statistical evidence that it makes us better defensively, and we really love the thought of giving you almost $11 million a season for the next three years, but we are really worried you’re going to lose a game for us.” For once, I am going to explicitly point to the tagline below and ask any Clippers fan or somebody else who has watched the team more extensively this season to let me know what they think of this, and if the approach is as severe as it looks. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Butler not thrilled with Rose’s work ethic

Colts still expecting Andrew Luck to start on TNF

Quinn: White’s role in offense not quite a ‘point of emphasis’

Odell Beckham Jr.: Prima donna nickname 'doesn't bother me'

Curtis Granderson downplays Matt Harvey’s tardiness

LeBron on Cavs: I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it


Jim Tomsula: ‘I want a confident’ Colin Kaepernick

Bill Belichick: Brandon Weeden 'can make all the throws'

Chip Kelly: Eagles coaching staff to blame for slow start

Tom Brady: I don't care about Greg Hardy's personal feelings

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. fined for punching Bills safety

Tannehill admits to beefing with practice squad players

Pettine clarifies remarks about Haden sitting out vs. Chargers

Report: Florida, Miami nearing deal to renew football rivalry

Report: Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher had fight over Fisher dating Barnes' ex

What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?

Amidst NY AG’s investigation, DraftKings CEO blames 'bad reporting,' says he’s open to regulation

Carlos Correa after drinking first beer: ‘It tastes bad’

Beltran, Beltre and the greatest active players without a ring

Five critical questions that will decide NL Wild Card game

SnapFace? Belichick again botches social media platform

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

No Fun League strikes again: Bailey fined for nap celebration

Five questions about the National League Wild Card game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

5 players who can win the NHL MVP this season

Warriors take next step in effort to build San Francisco arena

Greg Hardy: Ready to come out ‘guns blazing’ post-suspension

Report: CC Sabathia already at Connecticut rehab facility

NHL hockey is back and that’s awesome

Jake Arrieta's sweet ... sinker?

10 matchups to watch during NFL Week 5

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker