We can all agree that no one likes to get fouled going to the hole. Whether you are at the ‘Y’, out in the schoolyard or you are an NBA player. No one likes to see their star player get hammered going down the lane. Fans get upset, the explodes off the bench screaming at the refs and of course the players on the floor all come together and start grabbing each other tossing a few choice words around. The player who was fouled, after getting up off the ground goes right at the guy who fouled them.
While watching the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers Thursday night, I thought back to the days when the ‘no lay-up’ rule was in full effect. Or, how about the days when some players were considered ‘dirty’; when they fouled you it was not only painful, but the following morning your were reaching for the Advil.
You had hatchet men, dirty guys, enforcers, bullies and hard-nosed defenders. You need to be able to distinguish who’s who.
When i think of the above descriptions, players like Luther Rackley, Wendell Ladner, Dennis Awtrey, Lonnie Shelton, Bill Hanzlick, Ken Bannister, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Robey, M.L. Carr, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Marc Iavoroni and Kurt Rambis all come to mind.
When we played at East 5th street park or Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn the no lay-up rule was always the norm. (I’d be remiss of I left our West 4th street in Greenwich Village) This rule applied especially at the end of a close game. If you lost, you were sitting out for a couple of games. The courts were always packed. You didn’t let your man get by you, and if he did, you fouled him hard. It was the unwritten rule in basketball.
No blood, no foul is a term you often hear in basketball. I have seen it printed on the back of t-shirts, it’s a term people use when defending their suffocating, hard-nosed defense where the offensive player may run back down court complaining to the ref for a foul.
All over sports talk radio this morning (especially Chicago radio) Chicago Bulls fans are upset over a couple of hard fouls Jeff Foster of the Indiana Pacers has made on a couple of Bulls players.
K.C. Johnson a very fine writer for the Chicago Tribune with an outstanding piece from last night’s battle.
“This is the playoffs,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “There are going to be hard fouls. In my eyes, that’s what they’ve been doing the whole series. They’re fouling hard. That’s part of the game. When it crosses over the line, I think the officials will make the call.”
Bulls fans will say the fouls were dirty, Pacers fans will say they were not. I have seen both fouls called on Foster; upon further review, they are were both legit fouls.
One foul on Derrick Rose was very hard, but Foster was clearly going for the ball.
Another play had Foster hammered Luol Deng on a pull up jumper close to the basket. Deng went down to the floor and had a hard time getting up.
In Johnson’s article, I love how he explained the best way to deal with tough play.
Here’s how the Chicago Bulls handled the Indiana Pacers’ physical approach to Thursday’s Game 3: They won.
During the NBA play-offs the stakes are high. No one wants to lose, because like TNT says, ‘Lose and Go Home‘. With all this comes tougher and more aggressive defense. Foster is an aggressive player who plays hard, when Bulls players come down the lane, there will be contact. When a smaller, quicker player like Rose explodes to the basket and is in mid-air and a taller, slower defender comes over there is going to be problems. Long arms, slow feet and huge muscles will make the impact look a lot worse than it is.
“It’s basketball,” said Rose after he was hammered by Foster last night in Game 3 which Chicago won 88-84 to take a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series.
Growing up in Chicago, I’m sure Rose has been hit harder when playing pick up ball on the street. Rose is tough, he can handle any punishment Indiana wants to dish out. All Rose has to do is listen to the basketball historians in his hometown talk about Michael Jordan facing the Pistons and Celtics in the 80′s and 90′s.
A couple of years ago I listened to Karl Malone who was a guest on TNT’s Inside the NBA. They were talking about an NBA player who went off the night before and Malone was surprised no one stepped up and gave a hard foul to let the player know it wasn’t going to be easy.
The game today is still physical, but the refs jump in quicker and slap players with flagrant fouls, fines and suspensions much, much more than back in the day. The game has evolved from a lot of contact (no more hand checking) to today’s version. Back in the day there wasn’t any penalty or punishment for fouling someone hard. Today, if someone gets fouled, falls to the ground and doesn’t get up for a few seconds we see the ref call a flagrant or intentional foul.
In basketball you will always have different sides to every topic; when it comes to defense, there is always different opinions on how the game should be played. There’s hard, aggressive fouls and there’s dirty fouls. You need to be honest on the two. Foster’s fouls were aggressive, not dirty.
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