Is there a science behind hard fouls?
I would say "yes," based on the two W's for the Mavericks.
To me, it's clear that the Mavs players have been authorized to foul hard if the situation allows for it. They are all but taking Tony's inside game away, not just by clogging the paint, but by forcing Parker to decide if he wants to risk an injury the next time he drives anywhere NEAR Blair (or Dalembert).
We saw Leonard get clocked by an elbow to the top of the head (no, that was NOT an accident), and we've seen Duncan held countless times.
I'm not going to say that the refs should have made each of these calls.
I'm saying that Pop needs to authorize the Spurs to play with the same degree of controlled, disguised violence as the Mavericks.
They are pushing the limits of what they can get away with, and much of the time, it's working. As the 8 seed, they have nothing to lose. They're going for broke, and it's paying off.
I don't doubt that Cuban has some bright researchers who study the cost-benefit of a hard foul. The cost is clear-cut. The benefit is NOT. Worst case, you still give up 2 points, a foul call, maybe a flagrant (then you also give up the ball), and the opposing player is unharmed. End of story. Best case, they miss both baskets, and either you get in their head, and/or you physically intimidate or harm them, and/or take away rhythm, and/or embarrass them. Here's the tricky part: the total elapsed time of a basketball game is less than 2 hours. If you jam someone's wrist or are "fortunate" enough to get an elbow to the top of their head (does MMA even allow that?), there's no telling if that player will be the same for the remainder of the game.. or series. If you take away a dimension of their game, it's a huge WIN. And all you had to do is commit one or two hard fouls!
Bottom line, risk-taking pays off on defense. Grabbing, intimidating, reaching, elbowing. On the ball and off. If the refs see it as part of an "intense" defensive effort, it will be even more difficult for even a pro referee to see each foul.
Last edited by tenthousandaces; 04-27-14 at 10:31 AM.