There were two examples in last night's game that went beyond his on-going (and oft-chronicled here) indulgence of Josh Smith's worst characteristics (petulance and taking jump shots), his complete inability to design and/or call a useful play in the half-court in the final minutes of a game, not playing Al Horford enough in the fourth quarter, and using Acie Law as an off guard.
1) His mistaken perception that Mario West is some sort of defensive stopper. Putting Mario West in the game to guard Brandon Roy for the final 17 seconds of the first half succeeded only in making West (accurately) look over-matched as Brandon Roy beat him with a cross-over, made a lay-up, and converted the free throw earned by the pointless desperation foul West committed after he'd been beaten.
Look for the Mario West Defensive Stopper Scorecard to join the Josh Smith Jump Shot Log at the bottom of future game recaps.
2) Leaving players in a position to fail. Zaza Pachulia had another decent game off the bench last night. Woodson undermined the value of Pachulia's four made field goals and four defensive rebounds last night by leaving him on the floor for more than half of the fourth quarter allowing Portland to spread the floor with five shooters and be assured that one of them would be open because Pachulia lacks the foot speed to close out on the perimeter. Zaza gave as good an effort as he could but he's simply incapable of doing what was required of an Atlanta defender in that situation.
Opposing teams are going to try to create favorable match-ups for themselves. Sometimes they will succeed in doing so. A good team counters that. The Atlanta Hawks generally do not.
Playing as they are now, giving away every third or fourth game but staying within shouting distance of .500, is still probably enough to make the play-offs which would be a legitimate accomplishment. But a first-round series against either Boston or Detroit is only going to shine a spotlight on this team's weaknesses. To participate in a realistically competitive first-round playoff series, the Hawks need to get into the East's top 6. Today they sit four games behind Washington in that race. Despite the team's obvious limitations, they could make up that ground were they to stop giving away points for no good reason.
Decisions that do not work will be made and forgiven every game. Making the same decisions that do not work game after game is simply evidence of incompetence and can be solved not through forgiveness but by replacing the incompetent decision maker.