Intentional foul in final seconds nearly costs Warriors

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Intentional foul in final seconds nearly costs Warriors

With the Warriors leading the Nuggets 106-103 in the finalseconds of Thursdays game at Oracle, Andre Iguodala came down the right sideof the court looking to make a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it intoovertime.

RECAP: Warriors 106, Nuggets 105
Jarrett Jack had missed at the other end with nine secondsremaining, and so the game was coming down to this possession.As Iguodala approached the arc, Jack committed anintentional foul on him, wanting to take the potential 3-point game-tying shotout of the equation.But the official ruled that Iguodala was in the act ofshooting on the foul and awarded him three free throws with 3.4 secondsremaining -- and a chance to send the game into overtime.To be sure, it was a questionable call. And lets go aheadand make it a bad call for the purposes of this discussion.But the point here is not to harp on the call. The point here is to show an example of why intentionallyfouling late in the game with more than a two-point lead isnt always theno-brainer that some believe it is.It is becoming more and more common that teams will foulinside, lets say, five seconds or so with a three-point lead so as not toallow the trailing team an opportunity to tie the game with a3-pointer.The thinking is that the percentages are with the team thatswinning to secure a rebound off an intentional miss on the second foul shotattempt as opposed to the trailing team making a 3-pointer to tie thegame.And in theory, it seems to be a sound strategy.But the reality is that when you decide to foul in thatsituation you are also inviting trouble.In that case, you must allow for the unknown of thereferees whistle andor the possibility that your player may not quite foul atthe right time.Thursday night was a perfect example of that. The Warriorswere in a position where if they got one stop at the end of regulation -- onIguodalas last possession -- they would have gone into the locker room winners -- quick and easy.The worst scenario for the Warriors there would have beenIguodala hitting a contested 3-pointer (hopefully) and the game going intoovertime. Certainly not ideal, but you still have a chance to win inovertime.But by choosing to foul -- and with an accompanyingquestionable call -- the Warriors actually put themselves in position to losethe game in regulation.By choosing to foul, youre choosing to extend the game, astrategy that mostly is employed by the team thats losing. And by extendingthe game while youre ahead, youre giving the trailing team more opportunitiesto come back and win the game.In the case of the Warriors-Nuggets Thursday night, it wasalmost a nightmare for Golden State. Iguodala made two free throws with 3.4seconds left, missed the third but Golden State couldnt secure therebound.That left Denver with the last possession and an inboundsplay in the Warriors frontcourt. At that point, the Warriors could have veryeasily lost the game in regulation -- which couldnt have happened if theWarriors had chosen not to foul.Of course, Iguodala ended up making what appeared to be agame-winning buzzer-beater. But replays showed the ball came out of his hands asplit-second after the buzzer.A tenth of a second here or there and its a crushing lossfor Golden State -- and the reason would have been two-fold -- because it choseto foul and because the official made a questionable call.But you have to take into account for that improbability. Inother words, if youre going to foul, you also need to prepare for some thingsbeyond your control. Thats why some coaches elect not to do it, insteadrelying on his teams defense to get one stop.If youre an advocate of fouling with a three-point leadlate in a game, you certainly have a leg to stand on. But choosing not to foulisnt wrong, either. Its just another way to go.

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

On Thursday night, the Warriors saw an opportunity and they struck.

Golden State paid the Bulls $3.5 million (the max amount allowed) for the rights to Jordan Bell.

After making the selection, Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group asked Lacob: "This is the fourth time you’ve bought a pick, the first two didn’t work out so great. How easy is it for you to just keep doing this?"

"Easy," Lacob answered. "We want to always be incredibly aggressive and get better. We only have a few players under contract, as Bob (Myers) pointed out.

"We tried really hard. It was really hard this year. Harder than it sounds."

Last year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but paid the Bucks $2.4 million for the rights to Pat McCaw -- the 38th pick.

This year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but acquired Bell -- the 38th pick.

"It’s amazing that we were able to do it, second year in a row," Lacob said. "Thirty-eight’s a lucky number, I guess."

After the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the Finals, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that sweeping the Cavs (and not at least getting a third home game in the series) would cost the Warriors over $12 million.

Golden State did not sweep Cleveland, and did get a Game 5 at Oracle Arena.

In fact, a fan reportedly paid $133,000 for two floor seats.

Making the extra money did not impact the Warriors' decision to buy a draft pick.

"We would do it regardless," Lacob told Kawakami. "We just think that it’s money well spent if you just do the math.

"If you are good at picking players, it’s just a lot cheaper way to get a player than otherwise. How else are you going to do it?"

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

OAKLAND -- For the Warriors, the NBA Draft was about two things: Waiting for the right time to buy the rights to a player they love and being entertained, for the fourth consecutive day, by the earnest efforts of the league’s underclass.

Not that they would put it quite so impolitely.

“It’s a competitive league. All we do is try to get better,” president/general manager Bob Myers said late Thursday night, insisting that the Warriors are too immersed in their own challenges to look down their noses at the other 29 teams.

But the truth is inescapable. This is the week that touched off the flailing of franchises feeling particularly feeble and futile in the wake of Warriors destructive run through the postseason.

The Warriors were 16-1, the best record in NBA postseason history. Their average win margin, 13.5 points, is No. 2 all time. They demolished LeBron James and the Cavaliers in The Finals, after the Cavs had annihilated all comers in the Eastern Conference. Part III of The Trilogy was by far the most lopsided.

And the Warriors followed that up by buying a second-round pick to get, by most accounts, a first-round talent in Oregon’s Jordan Bell.

[POOLE: Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble]

The rest of the league is determined to fight back and, therefore, is scrambling and shuffling and trading and posturing in an effort to close the gap on the champs. Those teams, staring up at the Warriors, have to do something to feel productive today while trying to keep their fans from giving up on tomorrow.

No team did more draft-night hustling than their neighbors in Sacramento, who after using their No. 5 pick to select the player they coveted most, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, traded the No. 10 overall pick to Portland for Nos. 15 and 20, choosing North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Duke forward Harry Giles.

The 76ers chose Markelle Fultz, believing he is the final piece to assembling the best young team in the East. The folks in Philly, who avoided the team for nearly a decade, suddenly are on board, buying 14,000 season tickets -- a franchise record.

The Lakers grabbed UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who will generate an enthusiasm missing at Staples Center since the best days of Kobe Bryant.

The Timberwolves and Bulls completed a major trade, with Minnesota getting All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in exchange for guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, with the teams also swapping draft picks.

This all followed several moves made earlier this week, beginning with the Cavaliers dumping general manager David Griffin precisely seven days after being run over by the Warriors in The Finals.

Griffin’s dismissal preceded by a day the Hawks trading once-imposing Dwight Howard to the Hornets, as well as the Lakers dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for All-Star center and Stanford product Brook Lopez.

Meanwhile, as the Warriors examine their various free-agent contingencies, so much more is percolating around the league:

-Trade talk swirls about Pacers All-Star forward Paul George, who is destined to get out of Indiana, perhaps sooner than later.

-The Cavs are searching, so far without much success, for a team willing to engage in serious negotiations regarding power forward Kevin Love.

-Knicks top executive Phil Jackson, committed to a mission of unknown purpose, announced he’s now willing to shop 21-year-old wunderkind Kristaps Porzingis.

-The Spurs are ready to move on from LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green.

-The Clippers -- already with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick set to become free agents -- reportedly are willing to ship out DeAndre Jordan.

-The Rockets seemingly are ready to swap anybody not named James Harden.

-And the Celtics also are known to be on the market, though that is not unusual when Danny Ainge is sitting in the corner office.

The Warriors are the cause for such a mad frenzy, and the sight of their competitors making mad dashes toward their respective futures is the effect. They are two cuts above and that’s tough to take in a league of men who may not mind losing but do not care to be humiliated.

“We never looked at it as far as catching anybody, or people catching up,” Myers said. “Our job is to try to get better each day. And whether that’s through personnel, coaching, developing our players or us in the front office learning and growing.

“I guess I don’t view us as ahead of everyone,” he added. “I know it’s been mentioned by everybody else, but once you start thinking that, you’re in trouble. You’ve to start believing and keep pushing.”