Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.
An hour before Thursday’s exhibition game against the Hornets and coach Larry Drew said he had yet to make up his mind about the starting lineup.
“I’m not 100 percent sure yet, as far as my starting lineup,” Drew said. “I’m kind of teetering with a couple things. It could certainly change. I’m looking at different combination of guys on the floor. We are still in the evaluating process in this preseason. There are still some guys I am looking at very closely.”
I can tell you that the early lineup was Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. We’ll see what happens.
Drew would also not indicate if any of the 16 players currently on the roster would be held out. With a maximum of one roster spot still available, the coach said he is still evaluating and waiting for a player to step forward.
“I’m still not 100 percent sure if some of these guys are going to get playing time tonight,” Drew said. “I’m still wavering in that area as well. I want to start looking at some other things that me and the staff have talked about. Coming into this game against New Orleans and with only two more exhibition games left we really have to focus in on the task at hand as far as our club is concerned, particularly out personnel. I have a pretty clear picture of the core of guys who will be with us, but we are still looking a couple of other guys who we like a lot. We are going to use these remaining games and practices and, hopefully, one guy will emerge from the crowd.”
Smith (knee) and Horford (shoulder), held out of the last exhibition against the Pacers, will definitely play.
Finally, I asked Drew what specifically he wanted to accomplish in this game against the Hornets. Here is what he said: “Being about us, it starts with the defense. We have to come out and establish ourselves early defensively and bring a defensive presence. We’ve got to get stops defensively. We have to rebound the basketball. We are looking at our defense, seeing how many deflections we can get. [When] we come up with that basketball, then we have to race the lanes. We have to constantly put pressure on them on both ends of the floor. As I told our players yesterday, I want these last three games to be about us. If we focus in and do the things that we have to do, everything else takes care of itself. Everyone knows were are talking about running the basketball but we have to be smart with our shot selection. But we have to stay on the constant attack. The next three games were are going to harp on that with our players. Hopefully we can get that type of effort.”
- Chris Vivlamore