Why did Boston exploit the “hack-a-Drummond” despite being up by 30 points?

Tonight the Boston Celtics were not in control of their destiny in the In-Season Tournament. However, with a 124-97 victory over Andre Drummond’s Chicago Bulls, Boston took a step closer to the quarterfinals of the competition.

To advance, Boston had to beat the Bulls by at least 23 points and hope the Brooklyn Nets beat the Toronto Raptors. Although the Celtics dominated the Bulls throughout the game, they used some cunning tactics to secure a victory by more than 23 points. Leading 111 to 79 with just over 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Boston committed an intentional foul on Bulls center Andre Drummond. The two-time All-Star is not known for his free throws, as he has never made more than 61 percent of his shots from a stopped shot clock in his 10 years in the NBA.

The center then missed both shots from the charity line and the Celtics continued to try to increase their huge lead. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla faced criticism from the Bulls’ bench for this hack-a-Drummond strategy, realizing that not everyone was aware of the point differential situation, according to Jay King of The Athletic.

“Joe Mazzulla said he apologizes to Andre Drummond for hacking him the way the Celtics did, but that the team wanted to maximize his chances in the IST. He said he explained to Billy Donovan, Bulls coach, about the situation crossed with the Nets-Raptors contest and told him there was no problem.”

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Alessandro Saraceno
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