Comments about ‘Doug Robinson: Basketball needs a new, less foul, ending’

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Published: Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:20 p.m. MDT

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In, UT

Amen! I've blessed DVR technology through tournament season because trying to watch the final two minutes of almost any game live is unbearable. I want to watch the athletes play basketball, not H-O-R-S-E.

(And it's the worst kind of H-O-R-S-E because they only shoot from the foul line and they don't do any of those awesome backwards-over-the-head shots!)

Greeley, CO

Another problem is the 5,000 time outs each team has. Drives me bonkers how slow the college game is. Shorten the shot clock, lessen the time outs, and call less fouls.

Othello, WA

Fouling at the end of the game has been strategy for decades, I don't favor taking that away. Good teams will prevail at the fee throw line if they truly deserve the win. I am probably the lone voice in the wilderness, but I believe basketball at all levels needs more consistency and commons sense in calling fouls in general. They need to promote established positioning, instead of riding, reaching and hacking. Call an intentional foul what it is...INTENTIONAL. Call a flagrant foul what it is...intentionally dangerous and FLAGRANT!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I like to watch exciting basketball and not just a foul shooting exposition.

I think the rule-makers think it keeps the game exciting (because it may allow the team that's behind to get back into the game). I think it's boring.

I think the rule to advance the ball on timeouts in Pro basketball is the same concept. Allows the team that's behind to have more possessions and possibly get back into it even if only a few seconds left.

Even a six point lead isn't safe with 10 seconds in the NBA.

Setting up Buzzer beaters is the goal. I think the refs are encouraged to try to help achieve that same goal (keep the game interesting to the end).

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

REa: "Good teams will prevail at the fee throw line if they truly deserve the win"...

Ya... but it's not basketball.

If that's what you call "basketball"... why don't we just have each team line up and alternate shooting foul shots for 40 minutes and see who makes the most foul shots?


Also missing a foul shot doesn't mean you don't deserve to win. The best TEAM doesn't always win in a foul shooting contest. They may be the best TEAM but have a weak foul shooter. Just because you have one foul shooter who chookes... doesn't mean you weren't the best TEAM. It just means one individual on the TEAM failed and cost the whole team the game. That's a LOT of pressure to put on a kid.

Salt Lake City, Utah

So glad to hear that someone has recognized the ridiculousness of basketball game endings. Doug described very well every objection I have to this situation. I hope something will be done. The way it is now takes the game out of the hands of the players and into the desperate antics of the coaches.

Salt Lake City, UT

Don't mess with the fouls. Foul shooting is a big part of the game. If you can't shoot you should pay the price. The problem is that there are too many timeouts. Either get rid of the mandatory media timeouts or give the coaches fewer timeouts.

Provo, UT

My suggestion for fixing the last 3 minutes is less extreme: if the team that's ahead is fouled before they get a shot off and their possession ends with free throws, half of their remaining shot clock is subtracted from the game clock.

Not all late-game fouls are alike. Fouls should be penalized according to how immediate/premature they are.

My idea reduces the incentive to foul prematurely and keeps the game going. Giving possession and free throws is too much.

(At the same time, the NCAA Men's shot clock should be reduced to 30 seconds.)

Othello, WA

@ 2 bits I usually agree with your ideas, but I consider your thoughts about basketball, to be rather shallow. Your only about "excitement". Nobody said to make it a freethrow contest...it should be about performance and strategy. The winning team isn't putting the losing team on the freethrow line. In line your snippy comment, it would be just as logical to call the game 2 minutes early, and hand the win to the team that's ahead. For those of you who can't handle or don't want to concentrate long enough to watch a full game, lets just make them 10 minute games, or play to 20 by 2's.

caleb in new york
Glen Cove, NY

yes - but the article doesn't point out the real push against changing any of this - the large amount of commercials that can be shown during the last "minute" of the game. Advertisers pay big bucks to the TV networks. The TV networks pay big bucks to the NCAA or conferences so that they can pay the coaches' million dollar salaries and the million dollar salaries of other bureaucratic leaders. Advertisers are not upset with the slow endings.

Idaho Falls, ID

Agree with RBN. Leave the fouls alone, decrease the number of timeouts. How does an official differentiate between an intentional foul and aggressive play? I would even go along with shortening the time clock. But giving the leading team foul shots and possession? Give me a break!


Shorten the shot clock (even just to 30, which it already is in the women's game), get rid of 1and 1( go straight to 2 foul shots), make media timeouts every 5 minutes (not every 4), give the players 6 fouls instead of 5 (too many fouls were called this year, refs were inconsistent with the new focus on allowing offensive position) , take away one more timeout at halftime if it isn't used (currently 4 are allowed to begin the 2nd half)

Centennial, CO

In the NBA, don't they limit timeouts in the last 2 minutes of a game and take some unused timeouts away if needed ? Two less timeouts for each team would be fine, especially with all of the media timeouts.

I think they also allow one foul in the last 2 minutes before the other team starts shooting the bonus. That would also be an improvement. But it's foolish to not let the losing team have a chance to catch up.


Put a limit on the amount of time they can review a play. That's the big problem. Only allow them to review for 1-2 minutes max. If they can't decide, then the original call should stand

Provo, UT

With all that said, they could still reduce the timeouts to three per team per half. I would say after 15 fouls, the team fouled should get three shots. In the NBA, bring back the three to make two after 10 fouls. This would curtail fouling as a successful strategy.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Oh yes, it's shallow to watch basketball to see exciting athletic performances. Why do you watch?

I for sure don't look forward to a playoff-game hoping I can watch them stand on the line hoping to watch someone miss a free-throw.

Free-throws were intended to be the penalty for breaking a rule... not as a way for the loosing team to win.

I think some coaches abuse intentional fouling to the detriment of the game.

Remember the "hack-a-shack" strategy in the playoffs way back when? I don't tune in to a playoff game to watch a slow game with only one team playing. Team-A gets to play basketball when they have the ball, but when Team-B gets the ball they intentionally a foul player who doesn't even have the ball and stop everything.

Team-A never has to play defense. And Team-B's offense never gets going.

I want to watch both teams play tough defense and run plays. Watching one team play and the other team just stand at the foul line... is not what NBA fans tune in to see.

I know... how shallow...

Dave Duncan
Orem, UT

How about a compromise: 1 free throw and possession. That should be plenty of disincentive. And why not do that for the whole game? Heck, you could probably do away with foul limits and "fouling-out" which allows the refs to drastically alter a game, even in the early minutes of a game by calling two quick, ticky-tack fouls on a key player.

As for this fundamentally changing the game... YES!! that's the point! We've done it before: 3-point shots is a prime example. Don't fear changing the game for the better.

Cedar City, UT

I don't think you'd get as far with the fouling issue as you would with timeouts. The calls I find particularly egregious are non-deadball timeouts. I don't know how the game got these implemented in the first place, but enabling players to call for a "re-do" shouldn't be allowed.

Bailing out players and coaches in live ball situations dramatically slows the game down and shifts responsibility away from the players on the floor - which is why we watch the game, right?

Eliminate live-ball timeouts (including after made baskets or free throws) and you'd actually get an exciting final couple minutes.

Othello, WA

"Free-throws were intended to be the penalty for breaking a rule... not as a way for the loosing team to win."

Still disagree! I'm all for limiting timeouts and timeout situations. I don't believe in handing somebody a win, just because they are ahead with a minute or two to go. As for you quote above, you might as well say give the "fouled" team a point, and not shoot the free throw at all. I think you should have to perform right up to the end of the game! No handouts!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If you don't want the team that's ahead to win...

Why not just zero out the score at the 2 minute mark?

Or expect both teams to keep playing, and the team that's behind has to play tough defense to get some stops, or find a way to make more baskets in the last 2 minutes to win??

Just because the team that's ahead usually wins... doesn't mean it's unfair!

Nobody said to just hand them the win because they are ahead with seconds to go (straw man).

What I expect is they keep playing basketball, and the team that's behind has to find a way to stop the team that's ahead and score some baskets of their own. Is that too much to ask??

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