Vivlamore filling in for Cunningham. Here is your report from this morning’s shootaround in preparation for tonight’s game against the Suns.
The key to snapping a two-game losing streak is the Hawks’ defensive energy, according to coach Larry Drew.
As the Hawks host the Suns tonight, Drew emphasized defense to his team during the morning shootaround and with the media following the session.
“We can’t be a team with low energy,” Drew said. “If you are going to be small [with injuries to centers Al Horford and Jason Collins] you have to be a team that plays with a lot of energy. You have to be quick. Because you are a little smaller you have to do some things differently, particularly with us. Not having Al or Twin it limits us in a certain area as far as what our defensive schemes have been. Offensively nothing much changes there. It’s more on the defensive end. We’ll have to make some adjustments.”
Drew did say the Hawks needed to share the ball offensively, but his efforts were concentrated on the defensive side of the ball Monday.
While Josh Smith agrees that defense is a priority he is clearly more concerned with the offensive issues during the past two games.
“Everybody has their opinions,” said Smith when told of Drew’s comments about the defensive energy. “I think that defense is definitely the key to winning basketball games but if we don’t have any continuity on the offensive end it really definitely hurts us. When the ball sticks on one floor we get baited into playing one-on-one basketball. That’s what hurts this basketball team because when we are sharing the basketball, moving it from side to side, everybody is benefitting off goods shots, I think we help each other that much more on the defensive end.”
To clarify his remarks, I asked Smith if he was referring to ‘the notion of one person trying to do it all?’
“Iso … it’s pretty much self explanatory,” Smith answered.
Iso-Joe? Perhaps. The Hawks have had issues the past two games with several players trying to do too much in losses to the Grizzlies and 76ers.
“Definitely,” Joe Johnson said when asked if he agreed with Smith’s assessment. “I think we do get a little selfish at times out there. It’s part of it. You have a lot of guys that come out and try to do it on their own that hurts you even more. We have to get some ball movement, get everybody involved, get back to playing loose and having some fun.”
* Monday was the first day NBA teams were able to sign players to 10-day contracts. However, the Hawks had no immediate plans to do so in light of being without Collins for the next two weeks.
“Not a whole lot of news,” Drew said of the team’s pursuit of a big man. “Right now we are going as we are. We are a little small but we’ll just have to play the hand that’s dealt to us.”
* With the Suns in town, it marks the return of former Hawks draft pick Josh Childress. The former No. 6 overall pick is averaging 3.5 points per game for the Suns in 11 games, all off the bench.