Archive for April, 2012

Updated: Pargo doubtful; Hawks open Sunday

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

Just a quick note from morning shoot-around before the Hawks conclude their regular season tonight against the Mavericks.

UPDATE: The NBA just released it’s schedule for Game 1 of the playoffs. The Hawks-Celtics series will start Sunday, no matter who hosts. The time and rest of the series scheduled will be released later. The rest of the Game 1 schedules are below.

It looks like the Hawks will be without reserve guard Jannero Pargo, who has been nursing a stiff back. Coach Larry Drew said this morning that Pargo is a game-time decision but doubted he would play. As reported yesterday, Zaza Pachulia will not play tonight. He left Philips Arena Thursday morning wearing a walking boot. It’s the first time that I’m aware he’s worn it.

According to reports from Dallas, it appears the Mavs may rest Jason Kidd.

We will report back later today with a game thread but here is the topic if you want tostart commenting: How will the Hawks’ offense …

Continue reading Updated: Pargo doubtful; Hawks open Sunday »

Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks get boost with victory over Clippers

My video report following the Hawks’ 109-102 victory over the Clippers last night.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Updated: Horford out for first round of playoffs

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated story on Al Horford after my conversation with him following this morning’s practice.

Reality hit Al Horford – and it hit hard.

The Hawks center said Wednesday he will not be available for the team’s first-round playoff series against the Celtics. He has not progressed enough following surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle.

“I realized that I’m not nearly where I need to be or want to be – not even to give the team anything,” Horford said. “That’s when we kind of decided that it was best for me to take some time off, keep working, see how I progress. But we are just not where we need to be yet.”

The Hawks could also be without center Zaza Pachulia when the playoffs begin. Pachulia will not play in Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Mavericks, the seventh straight game he will have missed with a sprained left foot. Coach Larry Drew said Paculia is scheduled to be re-examined this …

Continue reading Updated: Horford out for first round of playoffs »

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Clippers 102

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story, with quotes, from tonight’s victory over the Clippers.

In his words, Joe Johnson “accidentally” made the biggest shot of a huge win.

The Hawks rose to the level of their competition  — in a big way – for a 109-102 victory over the Clippers Tuesday in a game with major postseason implications for both teams. The Hawks’ battle for home-court advantage against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference playoff race comes down to the regular season-finales Thursday. The Hawks need a win over the Mavericks to maintain their one-game lead over the Celtics, who defeated the Heat Tuesday. The Hawks would also clinch home court with a Celtics loss to the Bucks.

Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining brought the Philips Arena crowd to its collective feet. However, his desperation 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining, with the shot clock expiring, was the final dagger in the impressive win. Johnson controlled …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Clippers 102 »

Atlanta Hawks vs. Clippers: Game thread

Josh Smith didn’t want to talk much about tonight’s matchup with Blake Griffin.

He didn’t want to dwell on the Highlight Factory vs. Lob City.

“I’m not worried about the matchup,” Smith said following Tuesday morning’s shoot-around in preparation for the Clippers. “My main concern is winning the basketball game.”

Both teams have plenty to play for. The Hawks’ magic number to clinch home-court advantage is two. They can clinch tonight with a victory and a Celtics loss to the Heat. The Hawks must finish with a better record than the Celtics (by virtue of Boston holding the tie-breaker and winning the Atlantic Division). So they must either win both remaining games or win one and have the Celtics lose one to host the Eastern Conference matchup.

“We do have an opportunity to get home-court advantage,” Marvin Williams said. “It will be huge for us and I think everybody understands that.”

The Clippers are a half-game behind the Lakers for the Pacific …

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Pachulia out, no word on Horford

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

Just a quick couple of notes following the Hawks morning shoot-around before tonight’s game against the Clippers.

* Zaza Pachulia is definitely out with a sprained left foot. It will be the sixth straight game he has missed with the injury. Coach Larry Drew continues to term Pachulia as “day-to-day” and would not say if the center will play in the regular-season finale against the Mavs on Thursday.

* The Hawks will go back to their regular starting lineup against the Clippers, according to Drew. Jeff Teague and Kirk Hinrich will start at the guards, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith will start at the forwards and Jason Collins at center.

* Drew would not say whether Al Horford who play against the Mavs in an attempt to play in the postseason. “We don’t know,” Drew said. “It’s still a day-to-day evaluation. He’ll make a decision to see how he’s feeling.”

* The Hawks will announce this year’s winner of the Jason Collier Memorial Trophy before …

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Atlanta Hawks: Mixed signals from Al Horford on injury

Perhaps this is to be expected considering this is Al Horford’s first major injury. Or maybe it’s all part of some gamesmanship from Horford and the Hawks, who would rather the Celtics not have too much info about his progress.

But to judge by Horford’s comments over the past few days, he’s conflicted about if and when he can play in the postseason.

Last Thursday Horford told Chris Vivlamore he was “frustrated” by the pace of his progress and that he’s “not where I need to be.” By yesterday, Horford was telling Jeff Schultz that there’s a 70 percent chance he would play against the Celtics, saying: “I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing for me physically but I want to be out there and I feel like it’s realistic.”

Now today Horford told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports that it’s actually not realistic that he can play in the postseason, saying: “[A]s of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.” But he even hedged that statement by suggesting he could …

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Atlanta Hawks: Knicks 113, Hawks 112

  • The Hawks had what might have been their best offensive game of the season against a top 5 defense. At the very least, it was their best offensive game since Dec. 31 at Philadelphia. They lost both games because of lackluster defense and shaky late-game execution.
  • Depending on your view, it could either a good sign that the Hawks showed the ability to score against good defensive opponents or a bad sign they squandered those efforts when they finally got them. Or maybe another way to look at is the Hawks have shown they can play consistently effective defense so maybe not doing it this game was a fluke and their offense is finally ready for the playoffs.
  • Josh Smith didn’t sound too worried. “It wasn’t like we got blown out of the game,” he said. “If we didn’t compete at all, then I would be concerned.”
  • But there is a worrisome disconnect with the Hawks when it comes to their offense. It’s been that way since I’ve been around and it was brought into sharp relief while …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Knicks 113, Hawks 112 »

Knicks at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Larry Drew initially said he would start Jason Collins at center but left open the possibility of changing the lineup if Tyson Chandler doesn’t play. It turns out Chandler will sit, Landry Fields starts and Amar’e Stoudemire is at center. Drew will counter with Josh Smith at center and Marvin Williams at power forward.
  • Zaza Pachulia remains out and Drew said he’s still not sure if he will be available for the start of the playoffs: “I’m hoping so. He’s certainly doing better than, from my understanding, what they had anticipated. There is some progress with the injury and where he is with it.”
  • Al Horford put his chances of being ready for the first round at 70 percent. Drew: “We are keeping our fingers crossed but we are not totally counting on him. We don’t want to have wishful thinking. When they told us about the surgery that the probability would be very slim so at that point made our mind up we would not get him back.”
  • Drew said he anticipates Horford would play “not …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 97, Celtics 92

Here is my updated game story, with quotes, from the Hawks’ win over the Celtics Friday night.

The Hawks defeated the Celtics — who were missing three-quarters of their offense — Friday night. And they got all they could handle in the process.

Beyond that, there was little to gauge in an often-ugly 97-92 victory at Philips Arena.

The Hawks took a 1 1/2-game lead over the Celtics in the race for home-court advantage in their likely Nos. 4 vs. 5 playoff matchup. But you can forget this Hawks-Celtics game being a first-round playoff series preview. The Celtics team that took the court Friday resembled nothing of the one that will play in the postseason.

Boston was without Kevin Garnett (rest), Paul Pierce (rest), Ray Allen (ankle), Rajon Rondo (back) and Mickael Pietrus (knee). They are five (three starters and two key reserves) of the team’s top seven scorers in points per game, averaging a combined 68.8 points of the team’s 92.1 points (75 percent).

Willie Green scored …

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