Kevin McHale has fix for discrepancy in free throws: Stop fouling us

ByCalvin Watkins via ESPN logo
Friday, May 8, 2015

LOS ANGELES -- After a Game 2 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Clippers made it a point to talk about the foul discrepancy.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale has a simple solution: Quit fouling.

The Clippers were whistled for 40 personal fouls, some intentionally, when coach Doc Rivers decided to play the Hack-a-Whomever game with backup center Ekpe Udoh committing the fouls.

Houston was called for 27 fouls and set playoff franchise records for free throw attempts (64) and makes (42) in the game.

James Harden, who plays an aggressive style where he drives to the basket to draw fouls and score on layups, drew nine fouls in the Game 2, 115-109 win.

Dwight Howard had drawn a game-high 14 fouls while Blake Griffin had 10.

"James gets fouled and he doesn't get calls," McHale said. "He attacks the rim he doesn't get every call. I heard them saying we shot too many free throws, well quit hacking us. You shoot a lot of free throws when you decide you get in the penalty and start hacking everybody. Yeah, you end up shooting a lot of free throws when you put in your backup, backup center to just grab guys, that just happens."

The series, tied at 1-1, has endured all sorts of trash talk from forward Matt Barnes exchanging words with fans and with the mother of Harden.

Rivers has also exchanged barbs with fans but he's done it with a smile on his face.

The physical play of Game 2 had Barnes foul out while guards JJ Redick and Austin Rivers played with five fouls each in the fourth quarter. The Clippers' two starters in the front court, DeAndre Jordan and Griffin, each had four fouls.

The Rockets had five players with at least four fouls including Harden, who sat a majority of the third quarter after picking up his fourth.

"You're not going to win many games when the other team shoots 64 free throws and they make more free throws than we even attempted," Griffin said after Game 2. "I don't even know if you can equate that to intentional fouling. I think this was a poorly-executed game from a lot of different standpoints."

During Game 2, the referees warned both benches for complaining too much about foul calls. Barnes received a technical for bumping into Harden.

Harden has been the focal point of the Clippers' discontent with the foul calls. He's tied for third in total drives (49) and eighth in points on drives (seven).

"His style dictates a physical brand," McHale said. "Hey, James goes downhill and plays hard. There's a lot of contact the way James plays. I can show you every game, five where he clearly gets grabbed and they don't call it. James runs down the floor and the referees are not trying to screw anybody, it's a hard game to referee. It's a tough game to call. Again I don't put too much into all that."

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