With 12 seconds left in last night's Cavs-Celtics game, with BOS up by six, Delonte West drove to the hoop and was fouled by Pierce. West hit both FT to cut it to four. Granted the Celtics went on to win, but it got me thinking about fouls late in a game.
At the college level, one thing is very clear: In the latter stages of a game, when you are ahead, DON'T FOUL. Just ask Memphis.
I don't mean in the obvious situation, when you're up by four with 6-7 seconds left. It also includes situations where you're ahead by five with 4-5 minutes left, as well.
In the NBA, a coach will have more decisions based on the early bonus. The quality of free throw shooters in the NBA and that the 24-second shot clock cause more possessions than a college game in late-game situations are factors. And, in the NBA, at timeouts you can advance the ball to mid-court, which plays into late-game planning.
Regardless, it's these points that often get moved to the bottom of a coach's "to do list" and come back to haunt them at some point