To foul or not to foul?

At first, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy seemed confused after the Magic failed to foul on the Lakers’ final possession in regulation play in Game 4. The Magic could have fouled Derek Fisher before he launched the game-tying 3-pointer, which sent the game to overtime. The Magic had a foul to give, meaning the Lakers would have had to start their final play all over again with an inbounds pass. Van Gundy later seemed to be unsure of how many fouls the Magic had at that point in the game.

Still later, he said, “Yes, I regret it (not fouling) now. … That play will haunt me forever.”

In fact, the Magic should have grabbed Fisher as he dribbled toward the basket, halting his momentum. The Lakers would have had to set up another play. Even if the Magic had been over the limit in fouls, they would have forced him to make two free throws. Even if Fisher made both, the Lakers would have still been down by 87-86 with about, say, eight seconds left. The Magic could have inbounded the ball into the front court, making sure it landed in the hands of one of their better free throw shooters.

Not Dwight Howard, in other words.

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