Teague and Zaza have been in and out of L.D.’s rotation this season. Now they both will start tonight with Hinrich at shooting guard, J.J. at small forward and Josh at power forward.
Zaza gets the nod because Al, according to a Hawks spokesman, hurt his left ankle (not the one he injured before) when he came down on Deng’s foot at Chicago last night. Teague will start and Marvin goes to the bench because Atlanta’s free fall has prompted the lineup tweak that Drew has hinted at since before the All-Star break.
“We’ve lost four in a row,” Drew said. “I’ve got to shake things up. We’ll see if we start with more energy.”
Teague didn’t play at Chicago until garbage time despite Hinrich’s foul trouble and D-Rose’s easy (for him at least) drives into the lane. Now Teague gets Andre Miller, a matchup that Drew had concerned when Teague started at Portland while Hinrich got up to speed.
Zaza had one of his best games of the season at Portland, a couple days after L.D. indicated he favored Josh Powell and Zaza said he was unhappy. Two games later Zaza got just six minutes against the Thunder and then one minute against the Knicks.
After playing 22 minutes against the Lakers, logging 17 at Chicago and now starting tonight, Zaza presumably is back in Drew’s rotation.
“He’s done a good job,” L.D. said. “Looking back at our last game we played them, he played pretty well. Hopefully he will bring that type energy tonight. With Camby and Aldridge, they are pretty long. I was toying with the fact of starting Twin but elected to go with Zaza just [for] more of an offensive presence. It gives me a bit more flexibility.”
As for Al (who was in the training room pregame), L.D. said he thinks he’s still favoring the right ankle after suffering the injury at Miami on Jan. 18.
“I know he’s been a little sore,” Drew said. “I can tell he’s not moving as well as he has in the past. I saw it early in last night’s game. He tried to turn and shoot and had nothing, no lift on it as if he didn’t want to put any kind of pressure on it.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat