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Final seconds of Mavericks’ win over Timberwolves is everything that’s wrong with the end of NBA games

Or, why not give teams the opportunity to decline fouls the way a football penalty can be declined? In this case, the Mavericks would have fouled Beverley, and the Timberwolves would’ve rejected it. Add some time back on the clock and start the possession over. If you foul three straight times on a single possession, it’s three free throws. One way or another, the offensive team is going to get its shot to tie the game, and the fans are going to get what they paid for, which, with the astronomical prices they’re paying these days to watch games in which the best players regularly sit out anyway, should be the priority whenever possible. 

But for now we’re just dealing with the utterly absurd scenario that calls for teams that are winning games to foul. Imagine a football team being up by six in the closing seconds of a game, and rather than allowing the opposing offense one final shot at a game-tying touchdown, they could just jump offsides, get whistled for a penalty, and somehow that forced the offense to kick a field goal, eliminating their opportunity to score the necessary amount of points to tie the game

The NBA has tried to discourage tanking by changing the lottery odds structure, but it’s a Band-aid over a gaping wound. Teams still have plenty of incentive to lose. The Portland Trail Blazers were inside the play-in line fairly recently and are still just two games back of a postseason spot, and they have absolutely no interest in winning. Their best players are strategically not playing. They’d lost 10 of their last 12 games. Seven of those 10 losses came by more than 30 points. metasports

While we’re at it, for the love of god, please get rid of these take fouls that halt fast breaks. Let’s poll NBA fans and see what they would rather spend their hard-earned money watching: transition alley-oops and dunks from some of the greatest athletes in the world, or reach-out-and-grab-someone fouls that lead to the always exciting sideline-out-of-bounds pass to restart the possession. 

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