Rockets players say Hack-a-Andre did them no favors in ugly loss

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond went missed 23 free throws Wednesday during a game against the Houston Rockets.
Thomas Shea/Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff resorted to the old Hack-a-tactic because his team had no other means for stopping Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond.

Drummond finished the 123-114 victory on Houston’s home floor with the very unusual stat line of 17 points with only two made field goals. That’s because the Rockets fouled, fouled and fouled him. They opened the second half fouling him five times in nine seconds. Drummond went to the free throw line a total of 36 times, but missed 23, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record for futility from the foul line in a single game.

The strategy sort of worked in that it forced Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to take Drummond out of the game. But he would come back in, and anyways, the Rockets had no answer defensively and ultimately the Rockets would lose the game.

Afterward Houston players sounded off, via the Houston Chronicle, saying the fouling strategy did them no favors.

"There’s no rhythm to the game when you play that way," forward Trevor Ariza said. "Whatever happens in the game, you still have to be locked in. You still have to be ready. Am I a fan of it? Do I like it? No, not really. But if that’s what the game plan is, that’s what you have to do.

And:

"We kind of got in the rhythm of fouling," Rockets guard Marcus Thornton said. "Without (Drummond) in the game, now we have to really lock in on defense. Now we’re kind of tight out there because we haven’t been moving around. We’re just out there trying to follow the game plan."

The Rockets are on the other end of the equation most often with Dwight Howard. The Rockets center left the game early with an ankle injury, leaving the interior a free-for-all for the Pistons. Then came the hacking. And the Rockets lost anyway.

"We couldn’t get stops when we needed to,” James Harden said. "We didn’t have a rhythm offensively. Defensively, we didn’t have any rhythm."