Doc Rivers Further Elaborates on the “Hack-a-Ben” Substitution Topic

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We did about a thousand words Wednesday morning on the “Hack-a-Ben” situation, which popped up again in Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks.

Doc Rivers was asked about this following Game 4 in Washington, and basically laughed off the idea of subbing Ben Simmons and putting him back on the floor. He treated the line of questioning like a joke. But Tuesday night, he pulled Simmons off the floor around the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter to kill off the intentional fouling routine.

I went over the difference in the circumstances surrounding each specific scenario, and Rivers noted that it was the timeout situation that influenced his decision making on Tuesday night, then went on to elaborate after Thursday’s practice session when asked a follow-up by a national reporter:

“I was fortunate enough to have an extra timeout. I held it. I try to hold it every game, honestly. It was three minutes left with an extra timeout and I had to use that timeout before the three minute mark, so that allowed me to do that. I took (Ben Simmons) and Matisse (Thybulle) off the floor, and I figured we could handle just one minute of (that). We had an offensive possession, and I figured we’d have one defensive possession and one more offensive possession. That was a two-for-one, in a lot of ways, situation. If I didn’t have that timeout, I probably wouldn’t have done that…. With five minutes left, if you have that extra timeout, it absolutely gives you another card, and things that you can do.” 

Right, so the NBA rules say you can only use two timeouts once you reach the three minute mark in the fourth quarter. This change was made a few years ago. If you have four timeouts and get to the 2:59 mark, you lose two of the four.

But that was never part of Doc’s explanation after the Washington game. He basically just mocked the media and said we didn’t know basketball, which was oddly combative.

For context, when the Hack-a-Ben started in Washington, there was 2:47 on the clock and Rivers was down to two timeouts. If he wanted to use a stoppage take Simmons off or get him back on, he certainly could have done that, but if he didn’t want to burn those stoppages to end the hacking routine, he could have just said that in his original explanation.

Anyway, that should do it for this topic. We hope.

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