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Blazers plan to use ‘Hack-a-Dwight’ strategy against Howard and the Lakers

Oct 31, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

After a dismal opening night performance at home in a loss to Dallas, the Lakers will take to the road for their second game in as many nights against a Blazers team that’s ready and waiting.

There was plenty wrong with L.A. on Tuesday — the offense was horrid, and the defense (if you want to call it that) was even worse. Steve Nash had a rough outing trying to run the new offense instead of doing what he does best, and Dwight Howard fouled out, missed a couple of dunks we would normally expect him to convert, and shot a miserable 3-of-14 from the free throw line.

That last part is important, because just two games into the young season, a Lakers opponent is going to try to exploit that weakness to its advantage.

From The Columbian:

Can you blame them?

Howard has such a physical advantage over most teams that he can post numbers even when not playing that well overall. And, still finding his way back to 100 percent from the back surgery he underwent over the summer, his athleticism isn’t fully there, and the team as a whole (Howard included) is still figuring out its defensive rotations.

WIth all of that being said, if you’re the Blazers starting an undersized front line of Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and J.J. Hickson (as they did in the team’s preseason finale), you want Howard off the floor as much as possible.

Grinding the game to a halt and forcing him to shoot (and miss) a ton of free throws is certainly one way to get that desired result.

  1. dysraw1 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    always thought of that game plan as coming from a weakness standpoint on the defenses behalf DH. can do better than the percentages on any given night

  2. badintent - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Hack-a-Shaq, Hack-a- Howard.Lakers will put him on the pine in the fourth quarter all season. Better give rookie Robert Sacre his minutes now, at least he can make FTs !. Howard is pathetic. Shaq admitted that he pissed away over 5000 points, if he had made half of them he moves up to 2nd on all time scoring list. I can teach Howard to shoot over 65 % by shooting underhand FT !! Rick Barry hit over 90 % for his NBA career. It’s so easy, a child can do it. Come to think of it, Howard is a child .

    • zerole00 - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      That’s not really a fair argument, I can guarantee you that if Shaq made more of those shots out of the 5000 possible points there’s no way teams would have sent him to the line as often. I get what you mean though, make your free throws.

      • zacksdad - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        And then he would have made more baskets, either way he would have a lot more points.

    • mytthor - Oct 31, 2012 at 8:59 PM

      That’s dumb. The Lakers didn’t take Shaq out in the 4th and he shout about 50% whereas Howard is about 60%. Plus Howard is more valuable defensively.They may not go to him as much in the 4th, but I think we can agree with Kobe and Nash, that’s not a horrible thing.

      • badintent - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:08 AM

        You guys have poor memories. They should have taken Shaq out, he cost them several Finals with his terrible FT shooting. Howard ‘s poor FT shooting in his Finals cost the Magic a chance to comeback in several games. Howard ‘s wet dream is to shoot 70 % FT, Jabbar ,Willis Reed and Parrish were all around 70 % or better.Dave Cowens was around 75 %.Garnett and Duncan shoot around 70 % . Catch my drift. The really great players make FTs. To think Howard is great is dumb.

      • mytthor - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        Tough for Shaq to cost the Lakers several finals since they only lost 1 with him around. Also, too bad Wilt Chamberlain and Shaq aren’t great players. Since they didn’t make free throws and all.

        You know what the difference between 60 and 70% free throw shooting is? For players like we’re talking about, who shoot a TON of free throws, it’s 1 point a game.

        YOU have such a poor memory, you forgot what you actually said. You said they’ll take Howard out in the 4th quarter because he couldn’t make free throws. You didn’t say “they should,” you said they WILL.

  3. thegrey7 - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Timberwolves won’t have to perform Hack-a-Dwight, since Pekovich can easily shut him down. In fact, Lakers might want to employ a Hack-a-Pek defense.

    • stadix093 - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      Not sure if serious…

      • nbascreed - Oct 31, 2012 at 8:10 PM

        I’m high on Pek but thinking he could shut down D12, Pau, LA or even Bynum is ridiculous. Pek is not a defender, he’s a bruiser who wants to bang you. Good post players deal with bruisers the same way exceptional guards deal with pressure.

  4. beavertonsteve - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I doubt Portland will actually go full blown, away from the ball, Hack-a-Howard, but if they intend to foul Howard when he does get the ball in his hands the Lakers need to focus on making sure he is in position on put it in the basket when they do (ally oops, deep post ups, pick and rolls) Once the hackers are into the penalty Kobe, Nash and Pau have to get to the line to make them pay, not Jordan Hill.

    • badintent - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Jordan Hill shoots as bad as Howard, piss poor. They both suck from the line. At least Hills get Offensive rebounds and sets picks.

  5. thedefinitiveman - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I agree with dysraw1’s post, Howard surely wont be that miserable again at the line, especially seeing as he will be expecting it. He can just as easily have a good night there, and then the defense has fouled out trying to stop him, and the Lakers are in the bonus all game thus benefiting Kobe and co. Look at how the strategy worked our for the Warriors last season; D12 set the free throw record in a game of 39, and the Magic won the game. Coach Jackson was roundly criticised for the decision.

  6. eugenesaxe - Oct 31, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Give him 18 clean hard fouls, if LA keeps him out there that long.

  7. raidmagic - Oct 31, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    hahahahahhaha Magic fans are laughing everywhere. Gonna miss the big guy but no miss cringing everytime he walks to the free throw line.

  8. xcastorx - Nov 1, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    0-2 Lakers on pace to be 0-82 Lakers Suck!

  9. pop562 - Nov 2, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Dwight made most of his free throws, so please keep fouling him and get your team into foul trouble…what a good way to win a game…too bad lakers transition defense and pick and roll defense sucks.

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