NEW ORLEANS – C-Viv in the Big Easy filling in for MC.
Here are a couple of notes from today’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Hornets:
* Coach Larry Drew said starting point guard Jeff Teague is day-to-day with an ankle sprain suffered in Friday’s OT win in Detroit. Teague participated in practice Saturday. “He was out here getting some shots up,” Drew said. “He’s moving around on it pretty good. They are still treating it. It will be a day-to-day decision.”
*Drew played Kirk Hinrich, in his second game since returning from shoulder surgery, with 3:48 left in the third until the end of the game. Hinrich told MC that he was “gassed” following the effort. Drew said he was ready to play Jannero Pargo but that he decided to utilize his timeouts to rest Hinrich. “I was prepared to play Pargo after Jeff gave me the nod that he couldn’t go again,” Drew said. “He came back after they taped him and said that it started to stiffen up a little bit. I threw Kirk in there. I saw he was getting a little winded so I was prepared to throw Pargo in there but I made the decision to use my timeouts where [Hinrich] could get some rest. I kept asking him every timeout, ‘How you feeling, how you feeling?’ He said ‘I’m OK.’”
*The Hawks have gotten off to slow starts the last several games. The travel could be an issue. The Hawks didn’t arrive in New Orleans until 4 a.m. Saturday. They had early-morning arrivals in San Antonio and Detroit. Drew is also concerned that his team doesn’t take an opponent lightly, as they may have in Detroit and can’t afford to do against New Orleans. “When we go back and look at game tape, we see obviously when you are not making shots that gets you off to a little bit of a slow start,” Drew said. “Sometimes you don’t look at an opponent how we would like at a Chicago versus how we look at a team like Detroit that has obviously struggled. Sometimes that factors into it. As a team we are going to have to figure it out, particularly our starters, when we get off to slow starts it takes a little bit of a wake-up call to get us going. Sometimes it’s going to be a situation where it’s going to be too late. We want to be a team that comes out and plays hard start to finish, whether it’s the first quarter or the third quarter. We’ve done that, but we haven’t done it on a consistent basis.”
* Drew rested Joe Johnson and Josh Smith from practice Saturday, calling each “a little tired and a little banged up.”
* Expect the same starting lineup (not including the question about Teague) Sunday against the Hornets with Zaza Pachulia starting at center. Drew said he expected to make in-game adjustments but that the starters would remain the same.
* Drew said he expects a hard-fought game from New Orleans, coming off Friday’s win over Orlando. “To me, it’s going to be a very similar game to the one we just played in Detroit,” Drew said. “It’s going to be a very hard-fought game. It’s a team playing with a sense of desperation. They had lost nine in a row prior to winning [Friday] night against Orlando, which they did very convincingly. It’s another team where we absolutely, positively can’t look at their record and say this is going to be a wash. That team, going back and looking at their last seven or eight ball games, they have been in every ball game to the end. They lost games at the end. It’s going to be a dogfight and we have to be prepared for that.”
* The Hawks will not hold a morning shoot-around Sunday prior to the Hornets game. Instead they will do a walk-through at the team hotel.
* There you go folks. I’m going to write a story for the Sunday paper before I make my first venture into New Orleans. If you’ve got suggestions please feel free to share.