Thin and putrid offensively, the Miami Heat are trying and failing to revive the late '90s defensive style of fouling as constantly as possible and daring the officials to call a majority of those fouls. Thus it was an ugly game that produced a good win.
The Hawks played legitimately good basketball for the first 5:17 of the fourth quarter, turning a ten-point deficit into a two-point lead. Outside of that it was a struggle, but a productive one.
Josh Smith continues to insist on shooting jump shots. His 17-footer from the top of the key with 15 seconds left that appeared to hit the backboard first was the most cringe inducing. His subsequent block of Dwyane Wade's layup attempt with 3 seconds left amply demonstrated the value of the gifts he consistently undermines.
Or, as Joe Johnson said:
"Honestly, I don't think everybody on this team knows their role. think it hurts us as a team because you have guys out there, no matter how good their intentions, trying to do things they have no business doing. But when we play our roles and execute, we're fine."Mike Woodson continued to make the argument that he's among the worst coaches in the league. Anthony Johnson again saw minutes (27:00) suggesting that Woodson perceives his value to be equivalent to Josh Childress (28:01), Al Horford (26:36), and Marvin Williams (29:25).
Mario West played the last 6:08 of the first half, some of that as an out-and-out point guard, despite Miami using Wade and Ricky Davis as the primary ball-handlers for most of that stretch. Woodson was presented an opportunity where a lineup consisting of his five best players (J. Johnson/Childress/M Williams/Smith/Horford) would not be at a defensive disadvantage, one where the absence of Acie Law IV would not hurt the team, and he saw it as an opportunity to get the 12th man some minutes. To West's credit he did not foul out in six minutes.
None of this should be a surprise as Woodson thinks that either Miami or New Jersey is one of the best teams in the East:
"Our first  games really included the three best teams in the Western Conference and three of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, so we knew it was going to be a grind."There's some sort of TV embargo on Saturday night's game in Minnesota so it will go unseen except for those in the Target Center. With no hope of watching the game, I'll settle for an injury report published somewhere prior to tomorrow night's tip-off.