Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.
The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose tonight against the Hawks, the eighth straight game he has missed with a groin injury.
For the Hawks, Vladimir Radmanovic is a game-time decision with a back injury. The forward has missed five of the past six games with “tightness” in his back. UPDATE: Radmanovic will not play.
Without Rose, Hawks coach Larry Drew said his team will not change the way they approach playing the Eastern Conference leader. Rebounding and controlling the paint will be the key.
“Still a very, very capable ball club of winning without Rose,” Drew said. “We will attack them the way we have in the past. We have to control the boards. We have to control the paint. They really play an aggressive style in the paint area. We are going to have to bring a playoff intensity against this team because they are not going to hand it to us. They are not going to roll over because Rose is not in the lineup.”
Turnovers will be another issue facing the Hawks. They committed 22 turnovers in Tuesday loss at the Bucks, tying their third most this season. Ten of those turnovers came in the first quarter when the Hawks fell into a deficit they spent much of the game trying to erase.
“That is totally against the way we want to play, particularly on the road,” Drew said. “We talk about controlling the tempo, limiting our turnovers and how important it is to win the board game. At the end of the first quarter we had 10 turnovers. We were at a pace that wasn’t very good for us. Here we are 15 games until the end of the regular season and we are still talking about the same things we were talking about the first week of the season. It is something we will continue to harp on. As a coach, you hope at this point of the season, we are past that point where we are turning the ball over that many times. It’s the way we are turning the ball over. A lot of those errors are unforced, where we are trying to force the issue. Hopefully, we’ll just get better at.”
Jeff Teague had seven of the turnovers, but Drew’s message to his young point guard was simple.
“The only thing he needs to learn is how to bounce back,” Drew said. “… At this stage the last thing I want Jeff to do is play cautious.”
Finally, Drew expects to go deeper into his bench tonight against the Bulls, the fifth game in six nights. He had wanted to play more reserves against the Bucks but didn’t want to stop the momentum the starters had in erasing a 17-point deficit. Tracy McGrady played just 6:50, Willie Green played just 6:23 and Jerry Stackhouse did not play.
“I thought we had exerted a lot of energy to tie it and take the lead and I really wanted to ride the warm guys,” Drew said. “I was hoping I could rest both Josh [Smith] and Joe [Johnson] momentarily, which they did the start of the fourth, but I thought it was important to hang on to the momentum that we did have.
“Tonight, may be a little different story. I might have to go deeper into my bench.”