Some tidbits before you before the tip.
1. Hawks will go with Al Horford, Josh Smith, Mo Evans, Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby. It’s the lineup, essentially, that has gotten the Hawks two wins this year over Indiana. I’m not sure what the Pacers will do, but my guess is Tyler Hansbrough will get his second consecutive start after putting up 23 and 12 against San Antonio Friday night.
2. Hawks signed Damien Wilkins to a 10-day contract. He was at shootaround and I’d expect him to dress tonight. He said the two days following his release were “the longest two days of the year so far. I don’t want to have two days like that anymore.”
This is a man who very much wants to be a Hawk.
I’d think that his second stay with the Hawks may be tied pretty closely to the length of Marvin Williams‘ recovery. Williams is out tonight and is day to day with his back contusion. Drew didn’t have a clear answer about his timetable.
Drew: “We had not completely given up on the idea of bringing [Wilkins] back. We still were looking at some other names but made the decision to bring him back.”
Kris at Peachtree Hoops is at the game and he made an excellent observation, in my opinion, about Wilkins. With Pape Sy signed, Wilkins would take up the 15th and final roster spot if he were signed for the remainder of the season. That would limit the team’s flexibility if there were an injury that necessitated a roster move. So that might also be part of the lack of commitment to Wilkins.
3. Josh Smith on defending Indiana: “It’s a 3-point oriented team, so we’ve really got to guard the 3-point line well. We’ve got to try to contain Danny Granger, be able to do a good job on Roy Hibbert, which we’ve done in the past.”
If you’ll remember, Horford basically pulled Hibbert’s pants down the last time the teams met. Hibbert was 3-for-14 with eight rebounds. I asked Pacers coach Jim O’Brien about what he thought about the Hawks’ Jason Collins lineup, and he said basically it was impressive when a team can win either by going big or small, then noted how much trouble the small lineup gives the Pacers because Horford gives Hibbert, who is in a pretty bad slump, so much trouble.
O’Brien: “Their best lineup, in my estimation, is still their small lineup with Josh Smith at power forward and Horford at center. It’s certainly the most difficult lineup for us to deal with.”
Enjoy the game.