Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice.
There was so much to write (and completely rewrite!) about after last night’s dramatic win over the Pacers. I couldn’t get to the two technical fouls called against the Hawks. In speaking to coach Larry Drew and players after the game, those calls played a role in the outcome. Maybe, if a lesson is learned, they will have a part in other outcomes this season.
Here is what happened.
With 4:02 left in the third quarter, and the Hawks trailing by three points, Josh Smith was called for a technical for arguing with the referee. The call was made as Smith was leaving the court and being replaced by ZaZa Pachulia.
Exactly one minute later, Pachulia was called for technical foul while running up the court after he was stripped of a rebound.
The calls came in the middle of a Pacers’ run that increased their lead to 12 points heading into the final quarter.
I asked Drew what he told his players during a timeout with 5:45 remaining in the game – the start of the Hawks’ decisive 18-0 run.
“I told them, first of all, we are not going to panic,” Drew said. “Second of all, I told them we are not going to turn to the officials for help. Let’s just be men. Let’s go out and play. If they beat us, they beat us. We are not going to use any excuse as far as the officials. We are not going to do that. We are not going to turn to the officials when it starts getting tough. They all were in total agreement. I was proud that, one, they responded that way and, two, we went out and played our brand of basketball.”
Smith said he took responsibility for the call against him and addressed the team about it during the timeout.
“I let the officials get in my head a little bit,” Smith said. “It was a carryover affect. I let the team know that was on me. That was my bad. Everybody just closed our mouths and let our games speak for ourselves.”
Pachulia said it’s not always easy but the Hawks must remain calm.
“We should be smarter than that,” Pachulia said. “It’s easy to say now but in the heat of the moment we lost control. We have to do a better job of controlling ourselves and remaining calm.”
- Chris Vivlamore
Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks