The final seconds of the Mavericks’ win over the Timberwolves are all that’s wrong with the end of NBA games

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-108 on Monday night in a game with big implications for playoff standings, and the end of the game was awful. It shouldn’t have been. The game was back and forth on the stretch and had all the ingredients for an exciting conclusion.

But no. The NBA believes that intentional fouls, intentional misses, free-throw parades, and long replays are what people pay to see instead of potentially tie/win shots. Seriously, can the league understand this nonsense? It’s not that hard.

The “should you foul when you are 3 in the last seconds?” the debate is as tired as it is final. Yes you should. No, you shouldn’t be able to. The Mavericks, based on the stupid rules that currently govern this scenario, played well on Monday. The Timberwolves had possession, down three, with just over 10 seconds to play, and rather than the clock ticking to a potential draw 3 – the exact kind of decisive end that high-paying people crave. money to watch these games. – Reggie Bullock just caught Patrick Beverley before he had a chance to shoot.

It is an intentional fault. Call it as such. Reward free throws and possession, and see how long teams continue to intentionally foul. Of course, the guys would just start to be a little more discreet with their fouls, graying the realm of intentionality. Fine. Any foul, whether on the ground or on the shot, that occurs outside the 3-point arc and inside the last 24 seconds of playing time results in three free throws. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, this intentional foul on Beverley was just the start of a circus streak necessitated only by this ridiculous rule, or lack thereof, however you want to look at it. After Beverley went to the line for two free throws, the first of which he missed, he had to miss the second on purpose. He managed to graze the rim in a way that was perfect enough to get his own rebound, at which point he was…fouled. Again.

Or was he?

Of course, the Mavericks asked for a review of the appeal, which they got. So now, instead of a potential 3-point tie game, we get an intentionally missed free throw followed by a lengthy review. Anyone else ready to spin the chain? The Mavericks won their case, which resulted in a mid ball instead of several free throws from Beverley.

The Timberwolves, still down three, won the jump ball, which is how we enjoyed watching the entire streak. Beverley chases the loose ball, but before he can come back in a potential 3-point draw, Luka Doncic intentionally commits it again.

Luka actually pointed at the referee to tell him he was fouling him. No attempt to veil his intentions. So Beverley comes back to the free throw line. Fascinating stuff. He does the first, misses the second on purpose. The ball bounces and time runs out. The Mavs win the game by two points, and after all that, 10 seconds that felt like it took 10 minutes to get away, fans never got to see a potentially tying shot.

The end of NBA games too often turns upside down. Fouls are supposed to hurt your chances of winning, but suddenly they help. You’re supposed to want to make free throws, but now you’re forced to try to miss. These rules have taken a really exciting game and turned it into a circus, with a long intermission of replay, during the last minute, which is supposed to be the most exciting time in a close affair.

NBA basketball is an entertainment product.

Stop killing the most entertaining parts of the product.

While we’re at it, for god’s sake get rid of those take fouls that stop fast breaks. Let’s quiz NBA fans and see what they’d rather spend their hard-earned cash watching: the transition lanes and dunks of some of the world’s greatest athletes, or the fouls of reaching out and catching someone. one that lead to the always thrilling pass out of bounds from the touchline to restart possession.

Also, since we are going down this path, how about we stop rewarding teams that have lost. The NFL just suspended Calvin Ridley for the entire 2022 season because he bet on games, thus tainting the integrity of the competition, but at this time of year, all over the NBA and just about every sports, you can find teams losing on purpose. They are outright manipulating the results of these games to their advantage. What is the difference?

The NBA has tried to discourage tanking by changing the lottery’s odds structure, but that’s a band-aid to a gaping wound. Teams still have plenty of incentive to lose. The Portland Trail Blazers were inside the line fairly recently and are still only two games away from a playoff spot, and they have absolutely no interest in winning. Their best players don’t play strategically. They had lost 10 of their last 12 games. Seven of those 10 losses have been by more than 30 points.

There is no perfect answer to all of this, but the questions we need to ask ourselves are becoming more and more pressing. How long can the NBA reward things that are meant to be punished? Losing. Dirtying. Everything falls into the same box upside down. Everyone is screaming about those “take” fouls, and I guess the league will deal with that this offseason to some degree. The same must be done for those intentional fouls at the end of games, and that includes when the losing team tries to erase 47 minutes of loss by turning the game into a carnival free-throw contest.

But for now, we are only dealing with the completely absurd scenario that requires teams winner foul games. Imagine a football team leading by six in the final seconds of a game, and rather than allowing the opposing offense one last shot on a tying touchdown, they could simply jump offside, whistle for a penalty, and somehow it forced the attack to kick a field goal, eliminating their opportunity to score the number of points needed to tie the game.

This is ridiculous in any setting other than a basketball game, where you just got used to intentional fouls, either by the winning team or the losing team, defining game endings. As I said, there are ways to combat this. Fault outside the 3-point arc in the last 24 seconds is three free throws. Clearly intentional foul is three free throws whether on the spot or not.

Or, why not give teams the ability to deny fouls in the same way a football penalty can be denied? In that case, the Mavericks would have fouled Beverley and the Timberwolves would have dismissed him. Add time to the clock and start possession again. If you foul three consecutive times on a single possession, that’s three free throws. One way or another, the offensive team will have their chance to tie the game, and the fans will get their money’s worth, which with the astronomical prices they pay these days to watch matches in which the best players regularly sit anyway, should be prioritized whenever possible.

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