Jordan Won't Invoke 'Hack-a-Ben' Strategy

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

With his team down 3-1, Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan is probably looking for a kitchen sink to throw at the Cavaliers tonight in Game 5.

One thing Jordan doesn't want to do is intentionally foul Cleveland forward Ben Wallace, who is one of the worst free throw shooters in NBA history (41.8 percent).

Intentionally fouling Wallace -- known as the "Hack-a-Ben" strategy -- could force Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown to choose between watching Wallace clang free throw attempts and adjusting his rotation by taking Wallace out of the game, but it's not something Jordan wants to do.

"No," Jordan said. "We haven't thought about that yet. It's something where a lot of things can go wrong for you. You can miss a rebound if he misses the free throw and then they have an offensive rebound. You can get somebody in foul trouble that you don't want to get in foul trouble. So no, we haven't thought about that yet."

Jordan is reluctant to use such tactics.

"I don't like it," Jordan said. "Pure basketball is what I'm about. I think to play the game the way it's supposed to be played, that is not the way to go."

No New Incentive Needed

Jordan said being down 3-1 is plenty of motivation heading into Game 5, and his team doesn't need to get worked up over LeBron James saying that he does not see the Wizards winning three straight games.

"Look, if we don't have elimination as an incentive . . . " Jordan said and let the sentence trail off. "We don't need other words to excite us or to get us motivated. We understand that we have to win and we expect to go up there and get a win in Cleveland in this series so, let's go do that [tonight]."

All-star forward Caron Butler wasn't bothered by James's expression of confidence either.

"Every time somebody says something about a prediction, it hasn't come true," said Butler, who obviously wasn't thinking about Joe Namath. "So he predicted that it wouldn't come back to D.C., so I'm looking at [it] like we are coming back."

The Cavaliers are 2-0 in elimination games against the Wizards in the playoffs the last two years. They closed out the Wizards with a win in Game 6 at Verizon Center in 2006 and completed a four-game sweep in Washington last year.

Washington has not been eliminated from the playoffs on the road since 1988 when the Bullets lost Game 5 of a best-of-five first-round series at Detroit. . . .

According to DeShawn Stevenson's agent, Mark Bartelstein, Stevenson will appeal the $25,000 fine he was assessed by the NBA for making a "menacing gesture" during Game 4 on Sunday. Stevenson appeared to make a throat-cutting gesture after making a first-quarter basket.

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