When The Foul To Give Goes Wrong

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The term “foul to give” means that a team, in the final seconds of a quarter or overtime, has yet to foul in the last two minutes or commit more than three fouls in the period. Therefore, it can foul its opponent without sending them to the free-throw line (as long as the foul wasn’t on a shot attempt).

Teams like to use this “foul to give” as a way to disrupt a possession and force the opponent to start over with just a few seconds left on the clock. Often, you’ll see a defender grab a ball-handler as he begins his move to the basket.

In the closing seconds of overtime on Friday, with the score tied, the Dallas Mavericks had a foul to give as the Portland Trail Blazers brought the ball up the floor. And if a Blazers ball-handler got an advantage on his defender, it would have been a perfect time to foul and make the Blazers restart the possession.

But not only did Raymond Felton never gain an advantage on his defender, he lost his dribble and was fumbling the ball as the clock wound down. So this was not an opportune time for Jason Terry to use the foul to give…

Let us count the ways why this was a bad foul…
1. Felton didn’t have control of the ball.
2. Felton was 40 feet from the basket.
3. Felton was moving in the direction of the other basket.
4. There were less than four seconds left on the clock.

So in this case, the Blazers were happy to start their possession over, even though there were only 3.7 seconds left. Terry did them a huge favor, as his foul allowed them to call a timeout and inbound the ball to a player in much better position than Felton was at the time of the foul.

And that player was LaMarcus Aldridge

That folks, is a perfect example of when not to use the foul to give.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.



    I loved there celebration at the end. The Blazers were due for a win like this and very deserving of it. Congrats to LA and being able to do that in his home town with his family there. Excited to see the Blazers heading in a positive direction ater all of the turmoil lately… GO BLAZERS

  2. Amitpal says:

    Next chris Paul will give you an example on how to use the other teams “foul to give” as your own advantage. Those of you who are visual learners please watch Wednesday game vs the lakers. Chris Paul will show u what to do on the offense end but also what not to do on the defense end.