George Karl is changing his philosophy, but no, he’s not abandoning his uptempo offense.
That’s not the Delta Breeze you’re feeling, that’s the collective sigh of relief from Kings fans producing the zephyr.
However, the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history is a having a change of heart regarding a specific defensive scenario in the Clippers-Spurs series.
“There’s no question what has happened in this series has made me actually think differently on my philosophy of whatever you want to call it, ‘Hack A Shaq,’” Karl told Grant Napear on Sports 1140-AM on Wednesday. “It’s not necessarily a scheme that wins you the game but it puts you in control of the flow of the game.”
Spending any time around Karl and you realize in a hurry, he is big on ‘flow.’ Clearly, the Spurs strategy of fouling DeAndre Jordan and sending the career 41.7 percent free-throw shooter to the line is having an impact on the Kings coach.
“The rhythm of the game and the pulse of the game is almost being totally and completely controlled by the San Antonio Spurs and then there’s just an added pressure on the Clippers to execute their defensive schemes and also, of course, kind of sit back and pray that he’ll (DeAndre Jordan) make at least one out of two and he just very seldom does he make two,” Karl added.
“Even those possessions, when you go down and knock down a 3-point play, you can have two bad possessions because he's not going to make one."
The NBA rules committee may address the strategy this offseason -- and Karl’s outlook on it has changed.
“I’ve jumped the side of the fence,” Karl told Napear on KHTK-AM Radio. “Early . . . my basic philosophy was that this was not a high tactical situation and I still don’t think statistically it is a good tactical situation but it is a psychological situation that I think has an impact when the game is as close and two teams are as equal as the Clippers and the Spurs.
“I think it becomes a factor in who controls the flow of the game a little bit . . . I would now say, ‘I’m not in favor of changing the rule.’ If you asked me that six months ago, I probably would say, ‘Yeah, let’s clean this up and make the game look better.’
“It’s an important part of the game now. It puts pressure on Doc (Rivers) to make a decision (to perhaps take Jordan out of the game) and it puts pressure on Pop (Gregg Popovich) when to call for the action (fouling) because if you overuse it, you might lose the flow, you might lose the confidence of your team but you can use it and he (Popovich) has used it in a very positive way in the series.”
The Clippers, who trail the Spurs 3-2 in their quarterfinal series, will try to stay alive on Thursday in San Antonio, while Karl looks at next season’s opponents with poor free throw shooters theorizing when to “call for the action” and “control the flow of the action.”