"I rode him to the basket, and he tried to jump into me. He went to the ground and they made the call, but I don't know how anyone could have seen a foul in there."Joe Johnson:
"You can't call that. I know it's a tough situation, but you've got let somebody win it or lose it without any interference."No complaints about officiating here. It takes a selective memory to complain about the foul called on Marvin Williams with 1.9 seconds left which led to Chauncey Billups' game-winning free throw without acknowledging that the game was tied at 91 only because Josh Smith got bailed out by a whistle on the other end during the Hawks' previous possession.
"It looked like he got him a little bit. 'Sheed shouldn't have been contesting anyway. He should let Josh shoot that shot anyway. Instincts."To my eye, Rasheed Wallace did not foul Josh Smith. On that play Smith, as he had most of the night, found himself overmatched against either Wallace (who is just a bigger, better basketball player) or Jason Maxiell (who seems to understand his strengths and weaknesses and who definitely plays hard more consistently) and made a bad, hopeless decision. The danger for the long term is that Smith's getting rewarded for his flailing beg for a foul call with 7.7 seconds left is defined as "making a tough play" or some such within the team, overshadowing how miserably Smith has played over the last seven quarters (5-26 FGA, 9 turnovers).
The rookies were not as effective last night as on their debut. Al Horford had a difficult night offensively. It will take some time for him to adjust to the length and quickness of better NBA post defenders. Acie Law IV had an excellent first half (9 points on 4-5 shooting) but turned the ball over three times in a nine minute stretch in the second half.
Tyronn Lue got the start at the point. This wasn't due to Mike Woodson coming to his senses; Anthony Johnson was in Atlanta for the birth of his first son. (Congratulations all around on the birth.)
Lue isn't nearly as effective offensively playing with and against first-string players. His primary skill is making jump shots. The Hawks don't need him to shoot as much when Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams (who were both excellent last night) are on the floor. Lue isn't a great passer and thus largely becomes a spectator offensively. Lue has decent chance of looking good playing against Flip Murray. Chauncey Billups he just can't handle.
Defensively, the Pistons spent the fourth quarter exploiting Lue in the post. First Chauncey Billups, then Jarvis Hayes. So, despite my opposition to playing Anthony Johnson, the night he's unavailable, he's missed. Or the Hawks could have just gone big and put in Josh Childress for the last six minutes. Mike Woodson's not the most creative coach, is he?
Still, a one-point loss in Detroit isn't hugely dispiriting. Horford and Law are going to get more comfortable and Zaza Pachulia could be back as early as Wednesday to bolster the team's post depth.
See also: Matt Watson's post game thoughts at Detroit Bad Boys