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Mike D'Antoni discusses why he doesn't foul up three
Mike D’Antoni explained his philosophy about why he doesn’t foul with a three-point lead in the closing seconds of a game.
One of the reasons is you don’t want to foul someone in the act of shooting and give him three free throws, or worse yet, he hits the three and has a chance for a four-point play.
Anyway, here is D’Antoni’s explanation about choosing not to foul on the Celtics’ last possession of regulation yesterday when Paul Pierce knocked down the game-tying three.
“We always do that – not to foul,” D’Antoni said. “You say that with an asterisk. Down below five seconds and they’re in the two-point line, you can get a good shot at somebody. But when Paul Pierce has the ball and he’s like this - you can’t foul.
“Now do you foul with 10 seconds and we redo everything we just did? They didn’t have a timeout so that changes it a little bit. If you can get it down to eight seconds, then maybe. But again, eight seconds, you foul, they make theirs. They foul you immediately, seven seconds left. If you miss one foul shot, they’re coming at you and now you have to defend a two.”
D’Antoni said the players are smart enough to act like they’re shooting when the intentional foul comes and then it’s up to the officials to determine if they were.
“If you pick the ball up, that’s a shooting foul,” he said. “If you’re reaching for me, you hit me, it’s either I just picked it up or I was picking it up, it’s a tight - that’s why most coaches don’t do it. It’s up to the players to make a great play at that point. They have that freedom. They know the deal. It’s tough.”
Then D’Antoni was asked if assistant coach Mike Woodson, who was brought in to help the defense, shares the same philosophy.
“I don’t think that really matters,” D’Antoni said. “To be honest with you, because guess who gets fired? Okay, as long as you know that. I don’t fire him. He is in agreement, having said that, I think. I didn’t ask him.”
D’Antoni went on to give the percentages of games one when you foul and when you don’t. He said it’s 92 percent when you don’t and 89 or 90 when you do, but said he wasn’t entirely sure about those numbers.
“The idea is to be ahead by three points with 10 seconds to go, you’ve got a hell of a chance to win,” he said. “If you ask most players they don’t want to foul, because you don’t want to be that guy who has to go down and make two foul shots. Give Pierce credit, that’s a hell of a shot.”