April 21, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) DeAndre Jordan is following in some Shaq-sized footsteps any time he gets repeatedly fouled and goes to the line. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy employed against Shaquille O'Neal during his playing days remains alive and well at Staples Center.

O'Neal was a 53 percent free-throw shooter during his 19 seasons in the NBA, including eight with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jordan is even worse, shooting 40 percent from the line, making him an obvious target of intentional fouling by opponents. San Antonio tried it in Game 1, fouling the Clippers center at midcourt late in the first half.

It didn't pay off, though, with Jordan making 4 of 8 to end the half. The Clippers went on to a 107-92 victory.

''I wouldn't be shocked to see it more,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday. ''When the Spurs have done it, they've been pretty successful at it because they've done it for so long. They're probably the best at doing it.''

Jordan works on his foul shooting at every practice, and he's said that stepping to the line is more mental than anything else. Having fans chant his name, like they did during Game 1, doesn't help, either.

''That makes it worse,'' he said.

Jordan has talked to Rockets center Dwight Howard about how to handle getting hacked. Howard has experienced it frequently as another big man not known for his prowess at the line.

''It frustrates guys for sure,'' Jordan said. ''Once you go up there three or four times and get somewhat of a rhythm, you start to knock it down.''

Rivers recalled a game last season in which the Rockets fouled Jordan and the Clippers responded in kind against Howard.

''I remember (coach) Kevin (McHale) throwing a white towel, saying, `That's good, that's good,''' Rivers said.

The strategy has backfired on some opponents who've used it against Jordan, with the Grizzlies being a prime example.

''They literally got into an argument over it on the floor because they didn't want to do it,'' Rivers said. ''The staff wanted them to do it. They fouled and it was only three fouls and they were mad.''

Howard advised Jordan to keep his calm and not tense up at the line.

''Don't react to when they foul you because they're going to do stuff to knock you off what you're thinking about,'' Jordan said. ''Just try to stay locked in as much as possible.''

Jordan figures he'll be getting hacked more as the first round series against the Spurs goes on.

Rivers loathes the strategy as much as anyone, although he admits he'd use it when needed. Repeated trips to the line slow games down and often annoy fans.

''One day ... probably two teams with poor free throws is going to go back and forth, back and forth, and then everyone is going to turn from the game,'' he said. ''Let's hope not.''

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