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Hack-a-Howard worked, you can expect to see it again from Portland

Apr 21, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT

Dwight Howard Dwight Howard

If you just look at the numbers Dwight Howard had a pretty good night at the free throw line — 9-of-17 overall and he hit 6-of-7 from the line late in the fourth quarter and overtime.

But that’s not the whole story.

With four minutes left and the Blazers down 10, coach Terry Stotts ordered hack-a-Howard — Nicolas Batum intentionally fouled Howard. And Howard proceeded to miss two free throws. Next Rockets possession Damian Lillard fouled Howard, and he again missed both free throws.

It forced Kevin McHale to substitute Patrick Beverley in for Howard until under the two minute mark (when intentional fouls off the ball carry a stiffer penalty). By the time Howard came back in it was a three point game,on its way to overtime and a Trail Blazers victory in the extra period.

Before the game Stotts joked he would go to hack-a-Howard on the first possession, but after the game he said you can expect to see it again, reports the Houston Chronicle.

“It prolonged the game for us, no matter what he did,” he said. “It gave us more opportunities….

“I think it has its place,” he said. “It can be disruptive at times and has helped some teams win. It’s an option that is always there.”

Which is to say, if we’re down late again and need a spark I’m doing this again.

And teams will keep doing it until it doesn’t work.

  1. chargerdillon - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    This is going to be your fate Houston. Good teams will keep the game close and put it in Dwights hands when it matters.

    And while you’re getting blasted out of the playoffs you can watch Dwight smile all the way to the bank not bothered for a second that his inability to hit a free throw dooms his team.

    You have to pull Dwight at the end of games, or watch the game be lost in his hands.

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:36 PM


      The Hack-a-Shaq never worked, and it won’t work now either on Howard. It can only work if a player shoots at most 25-33% from the free throw line.

      Do the math, review the history, and see for yourself.

  2. thekingdave - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM


    Meanwhile the Lakers sit at home. I’m sorry he spurned the mighty Lakers but it’s time to move on. I watched the entire game, this Hack a Dwight thing is being grossly exaggerated.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Thank you for that very relevant comment.

      • thekingdave - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        Thank you for your confirmation. It means a great deal to me.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        I think you’re lying.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      You can call bitterness if you really want, but it is the truth. It’s something that has played out in all three places he’s been. It will continue to be a problem until he accepts help to improve his free throw shooting.

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      Funny but you’re the only one that mentioned the Lakers.

      Dwight Howard couldn’t make free throws as a member of the Magic, the Lakers, or, now, the Rockets. Doesn’t matter the team, he still can’t hit a shot that is literally called “free”.

      If this happened while he was on the Lakers, he’d be getting a ton more crap about missing those shots than he’s getting today as a member of the Rockets. I think Dwight is much happier about right now and it probably played a large part of why he’s not in LA today.

      Guess that means if you are going to troll Lakers fan, no need to apologize. Most of us are very happy Dwight is missing end of game free throws in HOUSTON.

      • ahash1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM


      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Dwight made the right move for his career. He never belonged (nor wanted to be) in LA or as part of the Lakers. The Hack-a-Howard is interesting because there have been plenty of bad free throw shooters in the league’s history but this technique is newer (as in Shaq’s era). Did they do this to Wilt Chamberlain back in the day? I’m really curious.

    • kb2408 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      How can missing 4 “free throws” at crunch time and forcing your coach to remove his best defender by “grossly exaggerated? Dude, what game were you watching? But if you’re ok with Dwight not coming through in the clutch, who am I to judge you!

      • 1forest1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        Dwight had 17pts 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in the 4th quarter and in OT. While shooting 50% from the field, and 54% from the free throw line. Sure he went 2-6 during hack a Dwight, but the game I was watching showed that Dwight did his part defensively and offensively late in the game.

      • kb2408 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        @1forest1…while you’re proudly stating Dwight’s numbers, what about LaMarcus’s numbers? Didn’t Houston bring Dwight in to be a “defensive” stopper?!

      • 1forest1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        @kb2408 Asik and Jones couldn’t do anything to stop LaMarcus. Dwight was the only one that made it difficult for him. Credit to Aldridge for just having an amazing game

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:38 PM


      You should be happy he left the Lakers. That’s what they get for pinning their hopes on a guy who is just not a good basketball player.

      But I agree with your other comment.

  3. antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    The Rockettes didn’t lose because of Hack-a-Howard. They lost because McHale went away of Linnerspace when he was getting them beaucoup clutch buckets in OT.

    They went with Harden for their final few shots when he hadn’t scored a single point in OT – we know what happened.

    • kb2408 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      I beg to differ, the free throws were a big reason why they lost but so was Harden’s lack of defense and Portland’s two stars outplaying Houston’s. As I’ve said from the beginning a lack of defense and Dwight will be the reason why Houston never wins a title with this group.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Their defense isn’t bad, but it isn’t as solid as it could be with Dwight down low and Asik backing him up. Might only require a coaching tweak.

      • kb2408 - Apr 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        “Their defense isn’t bad”?!! Dude, the Beard doen’t play any defense!! Portland posted up Wesley Mathews because Harden was “guarding” him. Harden is bigger than Wes and still couldn’t handle him in the post. A team will NEVER win a title when its best player is maybe their worst defender. Harden doesn’t even try half the time.

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      McHale is a player’s coach.

      In other words, he stays upbeat and lets them do whatever they want.

  4. phillyguyindc - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    He should try shooting granny style.

    FWIW, I don’t like the name Hack-a-_____. It worked with shaq because it rhymed, lets see if we can put our internet heads together to think of another name.

    • ihavenonickname - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      The Plight of Dwight.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM


    • asimonetti88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Rick Barry offered to help him learn how to shoot underhanded free throws, Dwight declined. Rick Barry shot 89.3% on FTs for his career, including one year where he shot 94.7%.

      • smoothaswilkes - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Shaq turned down Barry too. No modern NBA player Iis going to shoot underhand because, ego.

        So you can quit using Barry as a means to disparage Dwight or any other player that can’t shoot FTs. The point is moot.

      • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:41 PM


        yeah, but travelling every play and having almost no post-game and getting caught pushing guys in the back even though he’s much bigger doesn’t seem to bother Dwight’s ego.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        The fact that they turned him down is exactly the point. You should be willing to try to improve yourself. Dwight, and Shaq as well, are/were unwilling to do so.

      • longtallsam - Apr 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        Any player that is too egotistical to shoot them underhanded, simply isn’t doing everything he can to win.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:06 PM

      I think it’s more entertaining now precisely because it doesn’t rhyme and does sounds forced.

      It’s kind of like adding “brick” to any random scorer’s name. It used to only apply to those with Bs in their names, like LeBron or Westbrook or Kobe (LeBrick, Westbrick, Kobrick, etc). But people use it for almost anybody now, and it’s even more family fun! Carmelo Anthobrick. Stephen Curbrick. DeBrick DeRozan. Dirk Nobrickski (that’s actually a compliment).

      Go ahead and give it a try!

      • mackcarrington - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:19 AM


        Yeah! You’re right! This is great wholesome family fun!

      • antistratfordian - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:25 AM

        Atta boy! You’ve got the hang of it!

  5. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    I’m all for Portland, but howard should be walking all over Fropez. He should be on the same level as LBJ/Durant, but he doesn’t have the brains or the heart.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      He probably would be if the offense revolved around him in Houston, but it doesn’t.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      He’s not polished enough to be on LeBron’s or Durant’s level.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        And he never will be. That is exactly what I’m talking about.

  6. zickhead - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I thought Howard wanted to leave Orlando to win a championship not get bounced out of the 1st round every year.

    • thekingdave - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Yeah, that would totally be the case if these were one game series. However, the NBA utilizes a “best of 7” series format. Basically, the first team to win 4 games advances. You can head over to for more information on this very “complicated” system. In the meantime, stay stuck on your knee jerk reactions.

      • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        bad news for you bro, @zickhead is right. Houston is built to get bounced. The only D they got is Duhwight, and that ain’t enough.

      • zickhead - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Like I said, last year Lakers lost ‘best of 7’ this year only 6 games left till he gets ‘bounced’ out of the 1st round again.

        If you want to check the complicated system of the playoff results from last year, you can head over to or here’s a shortcut for you

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Haters like them don’t need no stinkin’facts.

  7. billtetley53 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    But wasnt Dwight going to lead LA to multiple titles?
    You Lakers fans crowed when he came there.
    Now your ripping him to shreds because he left.
    Typical of your fanbase, greatest ever while hes on your team,
    but stinks after he leaves….lakers fansare biggest hypocritical,k
    now nothing fanbase in the nba.
    1-12 in the last 3 season ending playoff series(2 sweeps) 2 first round
    exits out of 3 and miss the playoffs this year……

    Why are you as a fanbase even talking right now?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Those voices in your head must be annoying.

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Man, Lakers haters are out in force today. Again, the only comments about Dwight and the Lakers are from haters like you.

      I would imagine if the it was the Lakers and not

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:46 PM


      Who do you root for?

  8. ihavenonickname - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I don’t appreciate the hate, but to answer your question,mus laker fans are chimming in here because we are EXPERTS on the hack a shaq / plight of Dwight.

  9. cbking05 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Howard should shoot his FT under hand … it will take the focus off his mangina

  10. 1forest1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Dwight wasn’t the reason we lost, he obviously needs to knock down those free throws, but he was the only one who was at least able to make it difficult for Aldridge. McHale also made some questionable decisions, and his inbound plays are just terrible. Houston lost at the defensive end, whenever they needed a stop, they couldn’t get one.

  11. billtetley53 - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Kb2408, why do you even ponder pisting a comment?

    You are king of the know nothings.

    Koufax, your comment makes zero sense. Of course,
    Why would it ? Youre a zilch.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      You mad, bro?

  12. preston0036 - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    I think it comes off as Lame to Purposely foul too get back into a Game!! BEAT US!

    • cbking05 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      make free throws and problem is solved

  13. dablakdrphil - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    So because Dwight Howard sucks at the Free Throw line us Laker fans are “Haters.” Trust me we’ve been moved on from Dwight Howard many true Laker fans felt he should’ve left because we all know him and Kobe didn’t mesh well at all. Howard’s free throws SUCK and always will the difference between him and Shaq is Shaq was still able to get you 25+ pts and 15+ rebounds in a playoff game. Howard’s game is still evolving and his offensive moves are moderate at best. I said it when he was a Laker. If Howard was truly a dominant player Portland would’ve never played him straight up and would’ve sent double teams everytime he touched the ball

    We all know how good he is on Defense but Howard needs to really dominate on offense if HOU even thinks they have a chance at a Championship

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      You might not be haters, but your Lakers suck the biggest shlong in the NBA! Face it: while Dwight and his team compete for a championship you suck eggs. Have a good one!

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