Managing the minutes of his starters has been one of Hawks coach Mike Woodson's toughest tasks this season.I'd go (or have gone) with something more along the lines of managing the minutes of the few players on his roster who can play NBA basketball has been demonstrably beyond the capabilities of Mike Woodson this season but I don't have to talk to Woodson on a daily basis and can thus be blunt without suffering any real consequences.
It happened Tuesday in Indiana. Horford picked up his second foul with the Hawks leading 20-18 with 5:46 left in the first quarter.It's taken 78 games to figure out that the best players should play the most minutes? Or has it taken 78 games to learn that players (even rookies) are disqualified after their sixth rather than their fifth foul?
Woodson sat him and the next time he saw the floor, at the start of the second half, the Hawks had been outscored 49-32. They trailed by what turned out to be an insurmountable 15 points. So don't expect Woodson to yank his starters at the first sign of trouble Friday night in New York.
"Certainly, if you take him out, you have to bring him back at the seven- or eight-minute mark of the second quarter [rather than sitting him out until the third quarter]," Woodson said. "A lot of it depends on the situation in the game. When Al got his second Tuesday night it was still a back-and-forth game.I've read the above several times and it makes little sense to me. I guess we can take away two things from that quote: 1) Mike Woodson coached the game in Indiana so poorly that even Mike Woodson can recognize how poorly Mike Woodson coached the game and 2) Mike Woodson can't form and communicate a coherent thought about how to deal with foul trouble (either real or perceived).
"But he came out and then they just took off. We couldn't even get out of the first quarter, so you don't want to risk that again going into the third quarter."
Horford's impact on the game, a 29-point blowout before a late Hawks rally, was non-existent. He finished with four points and five rebounds in under 20 minutes, an unacceptable performance for one of the Hawks' most important players.Horford also finished the game with five personal fouls. It's disappointing that Horford had a bad game but nobody's going to play 82 good games. It's unacceptable that he sat for 17:47 of the first half with just two fouls and 10:46 of the second half with just four fouls.
"After you sit that long it's tough to come back into that type of game in any kind of rhythm. I know I felt out of it at the start of the second half. We were already down big and it wasn't easy trying to get back into the flow."See also, Acie Law IV's inability to improve as a point guard while playing 0 to 6 minutes a night; those minutes coming regardless of whether he plays well or plays terribly.
The season, and Mike Woodson's head coaching career, can't end fast enough.