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Monday, February 22, 2010

Pistons Ben Wallace says fouling strategy is 'garbage'

Trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter Sunday, Spurs coach Greg Popovich elected to have his team intentionally foul Ben Wallace on every Pistons possession. The idea was to send Wallace, a career 41.9 percent free throw shooter, to the line and stop the clock.

The strategy was not a popular with the fans at The Palace or the Pistons, but it allowed San Antonio to get back into the game. Wallace went 4 for 10 from the line and San Antonio outscored Detroit 17-6 in the final four minutes to force overtime.

The Pistons ultimately prevailed in overtime, but the strategy clearly got under the skin of Wallace. Wallace was visibly frustrated each time he was fouled and tossed his head band on the ground when Pistons coach John Kuester took him out of the game with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.

After the game Wallace was asked what he thought of the strategy and replied, "It's garbage." Wallace was then asked how he felt about Pistons coach John Kuester showing confidence in him by leaving him in the game and replied, "That's garbage too," and quickly ended the interview.

Teammate Richard Hamilton was not a fan of the strategy either, but admitted teams will keep doing it unless there is a rule change.

"That's not basketball," Hamilton said. "But the way the rules are set up, that allows you to do it. Until they make a different rule, it's all part of the game. It's part of team strategy nowadays."

Teams can not intentionally foul away from the ball in the final two minutes of the game. If a foul is made away from the ball, the opposing team gets one free throw and the ball.

This likely won't be the last time the Pistons see this strategy if they have a fourth quarter lead, but Kuester says he won't let it deter him from playing Wallace in situations like Sunday.

"I will keep Ben (Wallace) there three-fourths of the time, I’ll be keeping him in,” Kuester said. “I have confidence in him. He went to the line and a couple of those went in-and-out, but Ben Wallace will be in those situations if he’s been playing the way he’s been playing. He’s been phenomenal, we’ll win or lose with him.”


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