Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is your game thread to get things started as the Hawks return from a 2-4 road trip and host the Wizards.
Injury report: The Hawks will be without forward Marvin Williams and guard Willie Green for Friday night’s game against the Wizards. Forward Vladimir Radmanovic warmed up prior to the game and will be a game-time decision, according to coach Larry Drew.
Williams will miss his second straight game with a hip flexor injury. Williams said he suffered the injury in the first half against Denver but continued to play. We walked gingerly on Friday and said he is still experiencing pain and tightness. He hoped to only be out a “couple more days.”
Green will miss his ninth game with back and hamstring injuries. He worked out prior to Friday’s game and said he is finally feeling better. “My main concern is no setbacks,” said Green, who hoped to be back for Sunday’s game at the Cavs. “It’s been frustrating but I don’t want to rush back. It’s been long enough already.”
Forward Ivan Johnson returned after missing three games due to a personal matter. Radmanovic was a late scratch against the Clippers with a back injury.
“Given what has taken place for us this year, yeah it’s been a little frustrating,” Drew said. “You look at the team and you look at all the injuries and there are always the ‘what ifs.’ It’s just the way it is. You are going to have injuries. You have to pick up the pieces and keep moving. That is the one thing we try to emphasis with the players because it’s been night after night of not really knowing who will be available. I know for the players, it can be a little frustrating as well.”
Trade deadline passes: Thursday’s trade deadline passed without the Hawks making a significant move. They did trade a second-round pick to the Warriors for cash considerations.
Josh Smith had requested a trade and there was much speculation surrounding Kirk Hinrich and his expiring contract.
“I told the guys this afternoon, right before our walk-through, now that the deadline has passed with just a handful of games left, we have to keep our eyes on the finish line,” Drew said. “We have to focus on what we have to do every night we step out on the floor. I don’t care who our opponent is, we have to be a team that’s on a mission. I really feel like we have weathered the storm, the rough part of our schedule, now we are in a position where we can control our own destiny and that’s a great position to be in.”
I asked Drew if he thought trade speculation was a distraction for his team, which just returned from a 2-4 road trip.
“Whether a guy will admit it or not, that always has to be lingering in the back of his mind,” Drew said. “I know when I was a player, right around that time, there was always something there because you knew there was always a possibility. Then when it passes, you kind of exhale. I know each guy, I’m sure whether they will admit it or not, there was probably a little bit of concern there because you just never know. Now that it’s gone, you can re-direct your focus now.”
Hinrich to remain in starting lineup: Even with Williams out with injury, Drew said he will keep Hinrich as a starter.
“I like that it makes us faster,” Drew said. “I think it makes us a little more defensive minded. Kirk is a grinder. He plays hard. I’m not saying that Marvin doesn’t, but we play a little differently at the start of the game with Kirk in the lineup. I just feel like we are a little more aggressive and I think our pace picks up a little bit. From what I’ve seen of it, I really like it. With Marvin coming off the bench, it gives us an added weapon coming off the bench. I thought when I did it last year, it really worked out for both parts. We will continue to do it and see how it goes.”