Larry Drew Puts Al Horford, Hawks' Best Player, Into Something Worse Than Foul Trouble

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One of the biggest logical bugaboos of the basketblog era has been the concept of foul trouble. Coaches often yank players with two fouls in the first quarter or three in the first half in order to prevent the player from missing time at the end of the game due to having fouled out. You reduce current playing time for the sake of future playing time.

Only, most players are able to prevent Foul No. 6 without being removed from gameplay, and referees actually help, as (most) officials are loathe to impact a game by disqualifying player. So in reality, the coach -- not the fouls -- are the actual limiting factor.

Exhibit A: Al Horford.

Larry Drew's mishandling of foul trouble and Horford's foul trouble in particular has been a constant lament for numerous Atlanta writers, but Tuesday's head-slapping (il)logic was just too much. Horford picked up his second foul just a shade over two minutes into the game. Drew unsurprisingly pulled him ... for the entire first half! That's right: Al Horford, the most valuable Hawk, played two minutes in the first half because Larry Drew didn't want him to be unavailable later on due to an ejection he was four fouls away from.

Horford played every second of the second half, and finished with ... two fouls. That's right -- a player who sat for 22 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble never actually sniffed foul trouble. He could have had five fouls in the first two minutes and not fouled out.

Drew has no concept of the reality that 22 minutes in the first half are just as valuable as 22 minutes in the second. It'd be hilarious if it weren't killing a playoff team as we speak.

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