The Rockets took the tactic to an extreme on Sunday night in their 128-95 Game 4 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, in which they sent Clippers center DeAndre Jordan to the foul line 28 times in the first half and a total of 34 times for the game.
Jordan ended up making 14 of those free throws and finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds as Los Angeles took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"Personally, I don't like it," Harden said to ESPN.com. "But I guess different coaches have their different philosophies on the game."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he is “on the fence” about intentional fouling and says the league will take a closer look at it over the off-season.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale tried to explain the strategy and why he went to it just four minutes into the game.
"We were just trying to see if we could muck up the game a little bit," McHale said. "We just thought maybe we could get them out of their rhythm a little bit."
"Anybody that shoots 28 free throws in the first half, that's crazy. I've never witnessed that or experienced that," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "We just grinded it out, and I think that's a little demoralizing to be up six at halftime and the team to be putting somebody on the line 28 times in the half.”
The Clippers will try to close out the Rockets and get to their first conference finals in franchise history in Game 5 on Tuesday.
- Scooby Axson