The Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzles had a very unique sequence in the third quarter of Sunday night’s Christmas game. The Warriors opted to intentionally foul Steven Adams to make him shoot free throws, but the officiating crew ruled it a take foul, which awarded Memphis one free throw and possession.
The take foul rule was introduced to the NBA this season, and it has been very inconsistently applied. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant weighed in shortly after the ruling, and admitted his confusion with the take foul rules.
When implemented, the take foul was intended to reduce the amount of times the defense would intentionally stop fast breaks by “taking” a foul before the transition opportunity could begin. It has been mostly successful in discouraging such fouls, but this particular instance was not an attempt to stop a fast break. That is where the confusion came from, and it was shared by Kevin Durant.
The intentional fouling that the Warriors deployed against Adams also has it’s own set of rules, but the Warriors felt as if the take foul punishment did not apply to that particular play.
Golden State ultimately went away from the strategy, and returned to standard defense. Whether that was due to the officiating or Adams beginning to knock down some free throws, the Warriors abandoned the strategy, and will likely continue to ask questions about the application of the take foul rule after the game.