2012 NBA Playoffs: Why the Hawks Should Give Bench Players More Minutes

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IMay 5, 2012

Ivan Johnson.
Ivan Johnson.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks were not able to defeat the Boston Celtics last night and trail the series, 2-1.

Although the Hawks were able to force an extra session in Game 3 on a night when they were without three key players, their effort cannot be questioned.

The Hawks played Game 3 without centers Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia along with forward Josh Smith who was out after injuring his knee in the fourth quarter of Game 2.

The Hawks were able to put together a run at the end of the fourth quarter thanks to the play of Jeff Teague, Willie Green and an incredible three-point shot by Joe Johnson to eventually force the overtime session.

Head coach Larry Drew played veteran center Erick Dampier 22 minutes while starter Jason Collins played only 20 minutes combining for 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Hawks should use Ivan Johnson more in the frontcourt as he is physical enough to matchup with Kevin Garnett and can run the floor more effectively alongside Jeff Teague.

The Hawks could then look to speed up their offensive tempo to try to find some sort of advantage against the veteran-laden Celtics squad.

One player that has been out of sync is Marvin Williams who was inserted into the starting lineup with the absence of Smith. Williams has been averaging 2.6 points per game and his shooting percentage has been awful this series.

Should the Hawks replace him with Vladimir Radmanovic? He can spread the offense with his ability to shoot the three-point shot and possibly keep the Celtics defenders honest.

The Hawks could look to keep their players fresh by managing minutes and substituting them more often as it did work towards the end of the fourth quarter of Game 3. That may be the best way to win games against the Celtics.