Atlanta Hawks at Nuggets: Game thread and Rick Sund on trades
DENVER–Willie Green (back) and Ivan Johnson (NWT) are out for Hawks. Ivan will re-join the team when it returns to Atlanta. Rudy Fernandez (back) and Ty Lawson (ankle) are in for the Nuggets.
- Larry Drew is using the same lineup as at Sacto, with Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard, Joe Johnson at small forward and Marvin Williams coming off the bench.
- Drew: “They are a very uptempo team. We definitely we have to have a lineup that will give us some speed to try to keep up with them in transition. With Kirk as the two it gives us a little bit more flexibility from a quickness standpoint. From a matchup standpoint, I like him against [Arron] Afflalo and Joe against [Danilo] Gallinari. Joe may give up an inch or two but we may be able to take advantage of that matchup.”
- Rick Sund on Hawks’ needs as trade deadline approaches: “What this team needs is for everybody to be healthy. What we need is no more injuries. That’s what we need.”
- Sund on the Hawks as currently constructed: “We’ve been happy with the way the season has progressed [considering] injuries. We’ve had more injuries already than we had all last year. Every time we get hit, other guys step up, and that’s been a real plus. Defensively we’ve been really good. With a little over 40 games played, we’re the fourth-best defensive team and we’ve allowed the least points in the fourth quarter. Zaza [Pachulia] and Joe and Josh [Smith] deserve a lot of credit for keeping us in the playoffs. Our bench, every night it’s someone else, which is what we wanted when we put it together.”
- Sund on potential trades: “I don’t really discuss trades one way or another. I always say same the same thing: this time of year we talk to every team in the league and compare thoughts and notes and see if anything makes sense for the future or now.”
- Sund didn’t want to talk about Josh’s standing trade request, either: “I tell players and agents if someone talks to me about anything, whether it’s a situation with contracts or playing time or trades, anything that’s said is between us.”
- I still don’t think the Hawks are going to trade Josh by the deadline.
- George Karl on Fernandez’s return: “Ty and Andre [Miller] have been a little overburdened. Now there are more guys out there to share the responsibility. I think our balance will be better.”
- Drew on the altitude in Denver: “It definitely makes a difference. You can’t come into a building like this and let that part of it get into your head. Usually when you come out here, in my experience, and push, push, push until you get to that burn part it usually subsides. I hope it doesn’t affect us. It’s not something we are going to talk much about.”
- Drew on Jeff Teague: His confidence has grown and it started with the series against Chicago. It seemed like he really grew up. As I told him, ‘Let’s not let what happened last year to be a fluke.’ He’s shown he has the ability to be a very solid NBA point guard. He’s got the speed, the quickness, he’s good off pick-and-rolls, he has a good in-between game and he can finish. Defensively, he has really quick feet. His confidence level is at an all-time high. I think getting an opportunity to play has really helped him. As he continues to grow and develop we are looking for consistency.”
- Karl on Teague: “He’s playing like a very veteran point guard. He and Marvin Williams do a good job of keeping the court open for Johnson.”
- Karl on Teague vs. Lawson: “They are both quick but I still think Ty is faster. I don’t think think they have Teague on as many pick-and-rolls. We ask Ty to to be the creator of the offense. Teague is more running the plays and being a scorer off the ball with Johnson.”
- Karl on whether Josh or Joe worries him more: “Josh Smith most of the game, Joe Johnson at the end of the game.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat