The biggest storyline to come from Sunday's Game 4 between the Rockets and Thunder was Houston's decision to intentionally foul Andre Roberson late in the game. The Rockets used the Hack-A strategy, which forces a poor free throw shooter to go to the foul line, where he's expected to miss the shots.
The strategy is effective because your team doesn't get any offensive possessions, and it forces the coach to remove the player getting fouled. In this case, Roberson, who had been playing great defense on MVP-candidate James Harden, left the game because he went 2-of-12 at the free throw line.
But letting Roberson embarrass himself at the line wasn't enough for Houston. As he continued to miss, the Rockets bench was seen laughing at him, which is the ultimate sign of disrespect.
Sam Dekker, who is injured on the Rockets and therefore on the bench, was one of the players taking part in the laughter. He was asked on Twitter whether it's a bad look that they're laughing at Roberson, and he responded by defending his actions.
— Sam Dekker (@dekker) April 23, 2017
Dekker mentioning the mental aspect of the game is important, because it seems as if it worked. After the game when reporters tried to ask Roberson about the intentional fouls, he was visibly upset and said responded with "next question" on every free throw inquiry.
Houston has now taken a 3-1 series lead over Oklahoma City and is in the driver's seat heading into Game 5.
UPDATE: Russell Westbrook chimed in on the incident Monday afternoon saying, "Probably the guys who don't play are probably the ones over there laughing if I had to guess."
Westbrook on the Rockets' bench laughing at Roberson as he missed free throws: pic.twitter.com/lan4oQ7f1s
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 24, 2017