During the second quarter of last night's Pacers win over the Raptors, Danny Granger was gathering up a head of steam with the ball in transition, Quincy Douby in front of him and two other Raptors alongside in retreat. There was no doubt that Granger was going to push the ball to the rim, so at the free throw line, Douby just grabbed him to stop the play and put Granger at the line.
Pretty common play these days when an offensive player appears to have an advantage in transition. But what if Douby didn't give up on the play and instead went into a defensive stance, moved his feet and you know, actually tried to defend Granger? With two teammates joining the fray, there's a good chance Granger might have missed the shot or even turned the ball over. Sure he may have still been fouled or scored, but why give it up so easily.
Quinn Buckner immediately took exception with the play and had this exchange with Chris Denari on the Pacers television broadcast:
Buckner: You know, I know I'm a bit of a purist in a lot of ways, but that is lot of International basketball, where a guy's coming at you and instead of trying to play defense on him you just grab him. While it may make some sense, it's a little bit disappointing. You can't see: Danny can beat him or Douby can guard him. That just boggles my mind.
Denari: It's almost a give-in situation, isn't it?
Buckner: It is a give in. They're just assuming whatever he's going to do he's going to do successfully. My opinion on that (perfectly timed picture pops up with a little girl laying on her father's lap which breaks up QB's thought for a second before he continues) what you ought to do is just continue to play. If Danny is going to make a play, make him make a play.
I love this line of reasoning from QB. Get in a friggin' stance and play some defense. Ironically, I'd love to see Danny Granger get down and dirty on defense himself in these situations. But forget the effort involved, letting the play complete is, well, basketball. There are plays to be made and as a fan I enjoy watching basketball plays far more than grab fouls which disrupt the flow of the game.
On this play alone, we were robbed of a potential highlight play everyone may have talked about for a couple of days. Granger could've crossed up Douby and finished in spectacular fashion at the rim. On the other hand, Douby could've slowed up Granger enough for Chris Bosh to come flying in for a swat at the rim. Who knows? Douby may have picked Granger's pocket and set off a play at the other end that we'd still be talking about.
These are just a handful of potential plays snuffed out by Douby taking the foul, and in essence robbing the fans of a chance to ooh and/or ahh. Again, I understand the strategy, but it stinks. Besides that, it's boring. You don't want to be on a poster? Then get better or get out of the way, but let's see the play.
Having suffered through the Riley Knicks of the 90's, I don't know that I'd pin this type of play completely on the International influence on the NBA. But regardless of the source, I'm all for a return to digging deep, moving your feet and trying to make a play on defense.
In other words, play basketball.