Monday, December 06, 2010

The Horford Treatment: A Catalogue

Intellectually indefensible and emotionally disturbing, how has The Horford Treatment actually affected the Atlanta Hawks this season...

Game #1: October 27th, 2010, @Memphis

Horford picks up two fouls in the first 3:27 of the game. He sits for the rest of the first half. Zaza Pachulia scored 13 points and grabs 9 rebounds in relief during the first half and the Hawks are +11 in Horford's absence. Horford plays just 14-and-a-half minutes in the second half of the blowout victory and finishes with 3 personal fouls.

Verdict: Eccentric but irrelevant

Game #2: October 29th, 2010, @Philadelphia

Horford, foul-less in the first half, commits three fouls in the first 8:40 of the third quarter and is replaced by Zaza Pachulia immediately after the third foul with the Hawks up 7. Horford returns with 7:58 left in the game and the Hawks up 9.

Verdict: Sound rotation policy

Game #3: October 30th, 2010, Washington

Horford commits his second personal foul with 3:55 left in the first quarter. He sits for the rest of the first half. The Hawks outscore the Wizards by 8 points with Horford on the bench. Horford plays 17:34 of the second half, during which he scores 17 points and grabs 6 rebounds. The Hawks win by four points with Horford scoring 21 points on 10 shots, grabbing 10 rebounds, and earning 3 assists in 25:38. He finished the game with three fouls.

Verdict: Made winning more difficult but not impossible

Game #4: November 2nd, 2010, @Cleveland

Horford commits his second personal foul with 1:34 left in the second quarter. He sits for the rest of the first half. The Hawks are up 12 when he leaves, up 12 at the half, and win by 12. Horford plays 30:47 (thanks to an eight-minute breather across the third and fourth quarters) and finishes the game with three fouls.

Verdict: Pointless but irrelevant

Game #6: November 5th, 2010, @Minnesota

Horford commits his second personal foul with 3:57 left in the first quarter. He sits for the rest of the first half. The Hawks cannot extend their 5-point lead in his absence. Horford commits two more fouls in the third quarter and sits for 7 minutes and 21 seconds with four fouls. He commits his fifth and final foul with 1:50 left in the game and the Hawks up 13. Horford squeezes 14 points (on 11 shots), 12 rebounds, and 3 assists into 24:42. The Hawks are +16 with Horford on the court, -3 with him off the court.

Verdict: Postponed the inevitable

Game #8: November 8th, 2010, @Orlando

Horford commits his second personal foul with 8:44 left in the second quarter yet he gets to stay in the game for another 3 minutes and 11 seconds, during which time he makes a bucket, earns two assists, and grabs a rebound. The Hawks finish the half down 51-47 despite outscoring the Magic 30-12 when Horford was on the floor. Horford plays 11 minutes of the third quarter, commits just one foul, then rests for the first 5:35 of the fourth quarter. He finishes the game with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 fouls in 28:04, during which the Hawks outscored the Magic by 15 points. The Hawks lose the game by four points.

Verdict: Quite possibly the reason the Hawks lost

Game #12: November 16th, 2010, @Indiana

Horford commits his second personal foul with 8:20 left in the second quarter, 24 seconds after re-entering the game. He is immediately replaced by Josh Smith. Smith scores 6 points and Mike Bibby scores 13 in the remainder of the half and the Hawks take a one-point lead to the locker room. Horford plays 18:34 of the second half without committing a foul as the Hawks outscore the Pacers by nine and win 102-92. Horford finishes with 14 points (on 12 shots), 6 rebounds, and three assists in 30:58.

Verdict: Pointless but irrelevant

Game #15: November 23rd, 2010, @New Jersey

Horford commits his second personal foul with 4:12 left in the second quarter and the Hawks down five. He sits for the remainder of the half as New Jersey extends their lead to eight. Horford plays 23:11 of the second half plus overtime. He finishes regulation with three personal fouls and the game with 14 points (on 11 shots), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover, and the only acceptable defense played against Brook Lopez.

Verdict: Quite possibly the reason the Hawks lost

Game #17: November 27th, 2010, @New York

Horford commits his second personal foul with 2:49 left in the second quarter and the Hawks up 15. He sits for the remainder of the half. Horford plays the entire second half as the Knicks outscore the Hawks by 9 but never get closer than four points. Horford commits one foul in both the third and the fourth quarters and plays 41:35 total.

Verdict: Irrelevant

Game #18: November 28th, 2010, @Toronto

Horford scores 8 points (on 6 shots), grabs 4 rebounds, earns an assist, and blocks a shot in the first 11:24 of the game. He also commits a foul. He commits a second foul with 7:28 left in the second quarter, just 43 seconds after re-entering the game. He sits for the remainder of the first half. Horford returns to take part in the 23-11 Atlanta run that opens the second half and convinces the Raptors to capitulate completely. Horford plays just 4:10 of the fourth quarter and 27:05 of the game as the Hawks win by 18.

Verdict: Saved for important minutes that never materialized, postponed the inevitable

Game #20: December 3rd, 201o, Philadelphia

Having already played 16:20 of the first half, Horford commits his second foul with 51 seconds left in the first half. He sits for the remainder of the half then plays 20 of 24 second half minutes including a 7 point, 4 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal final 7:16 that keys the comeback victory. He finishes the game with two personal fouls.

Verdict: Irrelevant yet disturbingly compulsive behavior

Game #21: December 4th, 2010, @Miami

Quoting my own recap:
One minute and 32 seconds into his second quarter stint, [Horford] committed his second personal foul. Due to Larry Drew's placing a greater priority on Horford not fouling out than on winning the basketball games, Hoford sat for the final 6:28 of the first half. He would finish the game with four personal fouls.

(The admittedly well-rested) Horford dominated the third quarter, scoring 14 (and assisting on 2 more) of Atlanta's 25 points (on just 6 shots), grabbing four rebounds, and forcing the Miami Heat to adjust both their personnel and their defensive game plan in the hopes of slowing him. In retrospect, they needn't have bothered.

Quite reasonably, Horford sat out the last 29.9 seconds of the third quarter. Less reasonably, he sat for the first 5 minutes and 9 seconds of the fourth quarter. Inexplicably, Larry Drew, despite the Hawks scoring just two points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, held Horford back as he got up to enter the game at a dead ball with 8:52 left in the game. The clock wouldn't stop again until the 6:51 mark and the Hawks scored just three points during the 121 seconds Horford spent at the scorer's table.
And, from "Quotes, Notes, and Links," there's this:
He committed his third [foul] with 3:10 left in the fourth quarter setting an illegal screen, perhaps overambitious to contribute as he'd barely touched the ball since returning to the game with 6:51 left. He committed his fourth foul with 1:22 left in the game and the Hawks down 11. Were there important minutes to be played after that for which Drew was saving Horford?
Verdict: Definitely decreased the chances of winning

1 comment:

James said...

I don't think Horford needs more minutes per game. He is 7th in the league among centers in minutes and only 2.5 minutes a game behind Howard. I do not think two fouls is ever enough to sit for most of the 1st half unless the bench is having a great night or its a blow out. If you look at his game log he has played 10 games over his average of 32.2 and 10 games below his average. His minutes are slowly increasing as the season progresses having averaged 33mpg in November and now 35 mpg in December. I assume that the limited minutes might have more to do with energy level or conditioning or perhaps a injury than fouls. At least that is what one hopes given Horford has not fouled out of many games in his career. Perhaps the fouls just give Drew a reason to rest him at that moment rather than waiting until a specified time to bring him out.