Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread
- Larry Drew is using the “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center. Marcus Camby plans to suit up for the Blazers but Nate McMillan said he’s an emergency option. Hawks nemesis Kurt Thomas will start at center. “It’s a good matchup with Kurt Thomas who plays a physical game, Twin who plays a physical game,” Drew said.
- Tracy McGrady (back) said he’s good to go.
- Jamal Crawford on how things ended with the Hawks: “I feel like they had over a year to make something happen. I was part of their core and I was the only one that wasn’t under contract past last year. Teammates, coaches, the city, the fans—it’s all good. No hard feelings. But kind of deep down inside last year I knew it was the end of the line for me. I had a feeling.”
- Crawford on his slow start with the Blazers: “I’m still figuring things out a little bit. It’s similar to when I first came here. Eventually I got it and the same thing will happen here. It’s hard when you go to a different team, a different system,. Everything is already in place. It will come.”
- Drew on Crawford: “I will remember always having that guy when we needed instant offense off the bench. He was a guy, once he got in the game, you knew there was a guy who could put numbers up in a hurry. When you go back and look at teams that have had success they have kind of had guys like that. Back in my day, I remember a guy like Vinnie Johnson. Once he got in the game, you knew it was going up, you knew he could get in a groove, get in a rhythm and turn bad starts into good starts.”
- Drew on not having that kind of guy on the bench now: “When Tracy gets in the game, yeah, we run plays for Tracy. But we try to do things now that involve every player and just let them get what they can out of it. With Willie [Green], who can score the ball, he’s not a guy we run plays to, he just gets his in the offense. Vladimir [Radmanovic] is the same way. The way our team is structured now these guys kind of gets theirs with what we do, where with Jamal everyone knew we were running plays for him.”
- Crawford said he might “rope-a-dope” the Hawks and not look to light them up as L.D. has suggested. Drew is on the lookout: “That’s normal for any player that comes back to face his former team to be motivated to come back and play well. We don’t treat it any different than normal. We have a game plan and we have to go out and execute it. Jamal is a scorer and he can go out and score in bunches. Just like against any other scorer, you have to make sure you are prepared to defend him and have a backup plan.”
- Drew on Josh Smith’s free-throw slump: “Just keep practicing. He’s going to get fouled a lot. He’s just got to get focused on the free-throw line. With him, a lot of his free throws are long. From time to time I shout out to him, ’soft,’ so he can take a little bit off of it. It’s just something he’s got to spend more and more time with because he’s going to get to the free-throw line a lot and he’s got to step up there and knock them down.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat