Should basketball teams foul on purpose when leading by three with time running down?
We now have the answer longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would provide — and presumably one from Draymond Green, too.
With 8.7 seconds left in Monday’s game, San Antonio led the Warriors 103-100. Guard Damion Lee inbounded the ball to Green just inside the halfcourt line, and the Warriors were ready to run a play to get Steph Curry — or anyone else — open for a game-tying shot.
But Green launched a shot from a few feet inside halfcourt. He’s shooting 19.5 percent on 3-pointers this season, and this one was forced with eight seconds left in the game. Why?
“He thought they were gonna foul him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, taking the blame for not reminding his team before the play that the Spurs tend not to foul in those situations.
Green, known for his hoops IQ, out-thought himself this time.
Draymond attempted a game-tying shot from near half court and missed.
Warriors lose pic.twitter.com/ENPof64vVx
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 9, 2021
Some teams would foul the Warriors in that situation, forcing them to shoot free throws and then commit a foul of their own for more free throws, all while burning the precious few remaining seconds off the clock. But not the Spurs, and this scenario is exactly why: The worst possible outcome for the defending team is fouling a 3-point shooter in this scenario.
That’s what Green was hoping for, but instead he tossed away the Warriors’ chance to tie, and the Spurs iced the game with a pair of free throws.
“I felt like that was the smartest dumb play in history. I know most people will see that and put two and two together and see what was going on there,” Green said. “So, very smart play that ended up being dumb as hell.”
Popovich himself agreed postgame, calling Green and Steph Curry “two of the smartest players in the league.” But this time, Pop got the best of Green.
“I feel like that was the smartest dumb play in history… very smart play that ended up being dumb as h–l.” pic.twitter.com/T1szjBdYx9
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 9, 2021
Contributed by local news sources