DeMarre Carroll, the Hawks top wing defender, was not on the floor for the Wizards’ final possession that resulted in Paul Pierce hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Following the game, Carroll told WSB Channel 2 that he did not feel “comfortable as far as physically.” On Sunday, Carroll and Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer addressed the media and answered questions about the circumstances.
Here is what they had to say:
Q. What happened last night and are you good to go tomorrow?
A. I'm good. That was a tough game for us but by the same token to clarify what went on last night was me and coach discussed the situation, we discussed that was the best group at the time because they had come all the way back. Due to that, I hadn't played for a quarter and a half and we felt that was the best group to give us a shot to get that stop.
Q. Were you physically uncomfortable? What was it?
A. Like I said, I talked to coach. We discussed it. That was the best group at the time due to I hadn't played for a quarter and a half. That's what we felt.
Q. But you did go in the previous possession defensively?
A. I went in for a second and then when I came out we discussed and we felt that was the best situation. I know a lot of people are going to say a lot of things because I'm supposed to be the top defender on the team but I guess you can talk to coach and he'll answer the rest of the questions. We did discuss it and we felt that was the best group.
Q. If you had to do it over again, would you try to stress harder that you wanted to be on the floor.
A. No comment.
Q. DeMarre, in the end-of-game situation, said he was physically unable to go. He said moments ago you two talked about it. What happened last night?
A. It's like all throughout the game there is dialog. The group that was on the court we felt gave us our best chance to get a stop. You consider everything in listening and talking that's the group we went with.
Q. Is he physically OK?
A. He is fine.
Q. Did you put him on the bench or did he ask out?
A. We made a decision.
Q. What was different about that because he was on the floor on the previous defensive possession?
A. Considering he hadn't played the whole fourth quarter, I think he went in for a possession and, again, there is a time out, you talk, you discuss and you have to make decisions. I think sometimes we take players out of the game who don't want to come out and sometimes we probably put players in that don't want to go it. Coaches have to make decisions. It happens every night, every time.
Q. Did he not want to come out?
A. We went with the group that gave us the best chance to get a stop. That's the decision. Obviously, Paul Pierce made a heck of a shot, a tough shot. But we always go with the group we feel gives us our best chance.
Q. Is it fair to categorize DeMarre has your best wing defender?
A. Of course DeMarre is our best wing defender but considering he hadn't played the entire fourth quarter then there are lots of things that go into making decisions. You evaluate. You listen. You make a decision. That's what coaches do.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com