Kevin McHale on Houston Rockets free-throw edge: So, don't foul us

Kevin McHale on Houston Rockets free-throw edge: So, don't foul us
Clippers forward Hedo Turkoglu fouls Rockets forward Trevor Ariza as he tries to score in Game 2. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers' complaints after Game 2 on Wednesday night about the high number of free throws Houston shot caught the attention of Rockets Coach Kevin McHale.

And McHale was matter-of-fact in his response Thursday at the team's hotel in Marina del Rey.


"I heard them saying, 'Gee, they shot too many free throws,'" McHale said. "Well, quit hacking us."

There was a huge disparity between the number of free throws the two teams shot in the second game of the best-of-seven semifinal series that's tied at 1-1. Game 3 is Friday night at Staples Center.

The Rockets shot 64 free throws, making 42, which was more than the Clippers shot. The Clippers were 25 for 32 from the line.

James Harden was 15 for 15 from the free-throw line. Center Dwight Howard was eight for 21.

Some of Houston's attempts resulted from seldom-used Clippers reserve Ekpe Udoh's intentionally fouling players.

"You shoot a lot of free throws when you decide that you're just going to get into the penalty and start hacking everybody," McHale said. "We ended up shooting a lot of free throws when you're putting in your backup, backup center [Udoh] to just grab guys. That stuff happens. James goes downhill and plays hard. There's a lot of contact when James plays."

McHale upset

McHale said Clippers forward Matt Barnes crossed the line by making what a website said was a very rude comment to Harden's mom during Game 2 at the Toyota Center.

Harden's mom, Monja Willis, was sitting courtside.

"You don't say anything to anybody's mom," McHale, a known trash-talker when he played for the Boston Celtics in the 1980s, said Thursday. "If you have something to say, say it to the guy you're playing against."

Willis told earlier Thursday that Barnes apologized for his remark.

"I don't know what happened. I wasn't there," McHale said. "I didn't get a chance to talk to James' mother about it. From what I heard, that's just not right.

"I came from an era where everybody talked smack and there was a lot of stuff going on. But not like that. It was much more 'I'm going to kick your [butt]. What're you going to say about that?' It went from there."

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he was made aware of Barnes' comments Thursday morning.


Rivers talked about his personal rules for engaging in trash-talking.

"I don't think you should, unless you're doing it for fun, to have fun," Rivers said in a conference call with reporters. "I found the fans in Houston to be pretty much fun. They're loud, they get on you, but in a nice way. So I think as long as you keep it that way, it's good."


Rockets swingman Corey Brewer was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Thursday for violating the league's anti-flopping rule during Game 2.