Coaching Dilemma

A reserve plays extremely well in a close game.

The starter, meanwhile, is having an off-night, and seems exhausted.

So, in crunch time, when you need maximum production, who gets the playing time?

The starter is the guy the team is built around, the reason you're any good, and the person who you'd normally like to have the ball with the game on the line.

The backup is hit or miss, but seems to be hitting right now.

Sometimes you can mix up lineups and get them both out there by going small or somesuch.

I know, as a fan, that I often find myself hoping to see whoever has been playing well on that night. But coaches almost always go to the big-money starter.

It's a real question. And one that, as Sekou Smith writes in the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes, the Hawks are dealing with right now. Joe Johnson has been looking exhausted, while Flip Murray was scoring easily last night.

What's a coach to do?