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What is Hack-A-Shaq?

A defensive strategy in which the defense intentionally fouls the offensive player on the court with the lowest free throw percentage. This strategy is used by a team with the intention to stop the clock, consequently increasing its own number of offensive possessions and hopefully limiting the points per possession of the opposing team. It is usually employed when the team is trailing late in the game, but some coaches have implemented the strategy when they're ahead as well.

Sporting Charts explains Hack-A-Shaq

When using Hack-a-Shaq, a player may be intentionally fouled the moment he gains possession of the ball, but he may also be fouled when he is off-the-ball. However, the NBA has a rule discouraging the defense from intentionally fouling a player off-the-ball during crunch time. The rule states that when a player who neither has the ball nor is making an effort to receive the ball is intentionally fouled within the last two minutes of the game by a team in a penalty situation, the player is awarded two free throws and the offense is awarded possession of the ball.

This strategy was named Hack-a-Shaq when former Dallas Mavericks head coach Don Nelson executed it against former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal, who was a career 52.7% free throw shooter. However, the Hack-a-Shaq strategy has been used against other poor free throw shooters such as Wilt Chamberlain, Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, and Bruce Bowen.

Check out our article: Hack-a-Shaq - Comparing the NBAs worst Free Throw Shooters

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