Atlanta Hawks: Slow start, fast finish in win over Hornets (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

It didn’t exactly start with defense – but it got better. A whole lot better.

Hawks coach Larry Drew has preached his team must stop the opposition before starting the new up-tempo offense this exhibition season.

After a tough beginning, the Hawks erased a nine-point deficit en route to a convincing 97-68 victory over the Hornets Thursday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 16 points and seven rebounds. Anthony Morrow added 15 points. Devin Harris (14 points), Al Horford (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Lou Williams (10 points) were the other double-digit scorers. No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis scored a game-high 19 points with seven rebounds for the Hornets (3-2).

“Clearly it was a tale of two halves,” Drew said. “The first half we were a little stagnant. The second half we came out and put our foot on the gas and didn’t look back.”

The Hornets were shooting 60 percent from the field (9 of 15) with their first basket of the second quarter. It was part of an 8-2 run that turned into a nine-point lead. The Hawks turned up the defensive effort and by the end of the first half the Hornets were shooting 38.9 percent (14 of 36).

“We were causing havoc and turning it up on the defensive end,” Harris said. “When we are doing that, obviously, offensively we’ll find ways to score.”

The Hawks were beaten badly on the boards early. The Hornets held a 14-6 rebound advantage after the first quarter and a 29-17 edge at the half. At game’s end, the Hornets held just a 45-44 advantage.

Drew might want to record his halftime speech and save it for when the games count. The Hawks opened the third quarter on a 21-1 run to pull away for good. They took a 61-41 lead with 5:15 remaining in the period. At one point, the fast-breaking Hawks scored a basket plus a foul on four of five possessions.

The Hornets, by stark contrast missed their first 13 shots of the third quarter. They were held to just three field goals while being outscored 26-7 in the decisive quarter. By the end of the period their total shooting percentage was down to a measly 29.1 percent (16 of 55).

“We turned it up defensively,” Smith said. “We picked up full court. We didn’t gamble. We were able to get some deflections. We were able to get out on some fast breaks. When we got the rebounds I think me and Al did a good job at pushing it and finding the open man for easy transition points.”

The Hawks led by as many as 32 points. Coach and player insist the early-game issues were a matter of defensive energy.

“That second half, the third quarter, we were defensively a different team,” Morrow said. “That’s all it was. We had energy. We had effort. We contested shots. That’s what we have to do every single game. … Offensively, we are going to be fine. We just have to make sure that defensively we bring that same effort we brought in the second half.”

Notes

* Jeff Teague left the game in the third quarter with a left ankle sprain and did not return. Drew said following the game he did not have an update on Teague’s condition.

* The Hawks used their fifth different starting lineup of the preseason. Thursday was closer to what the team could use during the regular season with Teague, Harris, DeShawn Stevenson, Smith and Horford.

* Rookie John Jenkins did not dress out for the game with a hand contusion suffered during a recent practice. Kyle Korver was also inactive. Damion James, Ivan Johnson and Johan Petro did not play as coach’s decisions..

* Recording stars Ludacris and Ne-Yo were in attendance. Both were featured on the arena’s Kiss Cam.

* The Hawks will not practice Friday. They host the Mavericks Saturday night.

- Chris Vivlamore

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91 comments Add your comment

steven a smith

October 18th, 2012
9:56 pm

Al Horford and Zsa Zsa= Zero Blocked Shots.

steven a smith

October 18th, 2012
9:58 pm

DeShawn Stevenson lead the Atlanta Hawks with 2 Blocked Shots. I guess he is our “new shot blocker”(lol)

paian

October 18th, 2012
10:00 pm

steven a smith= dumbest blogger ever

prison mike

October 18th, 2012
10:00 pm

Why didn’t Joe bitchassness Johnson not hit PP when he was with us.

SAS

October 18th, 2012
10:17 pm

prison mike, what is PP?

Hawks_4_Life

October 18th, 2012
10:19 pm

Paul Pierce?

Lir(Dominican)

October 18th, 2012
10:19 pm

Paul Pierce of boston celtics

Hawkz

October 18th, 2012
10:22 pm

PP = Paul Pierce; JJ had a flagrant 1 foul on Pierce in today’s game.

SAS

October 18th, 2012
10:22 pm

what happened?

SAS

October 18th, 2012
10:24 pm

High-sider

October 18th, 2012
10:26 pm

J.E.T [Jason Eugene Terry] is “en fuego.”

swatguy

October 18th, 2012
10:29 pm

Joe got Reggie Evans behind him.

Ken Strickland

October 18th, 2012
10:35 pm

SPEED KILLS, and when used properly it can make us a solid DEF team. Unlike in the past, we now have the backcourt speed and quickness to double, or help, and recover. This is going to be a team that will surprise everyone, although I don’t expect us to start out strong. We have to develop chemistry and cohesiveness as we go forward.

Since Petro hasn’t played in the last 2 gms, it looks like he has the team made. It’s getting very hard for me to believe that JAnderson has any chance of making the cut. Based on his recent lack of mins and production, it looks like Drew is no longer interested in seeing what he can do.

I’m pretty certain that our starting lineup will be
Teague PG
Harris SG
James SF
Smith PF
Horford C

However, if Morrow has 2 more scoring gms like he had tonight, he could end up getting the nod. The difference could boil down to which player plays the best DEF. Despite all of the b!tching and whinning about this player and that player, we really have a lot of talent and versatility on this team.

I also love the fact that we won’t have any players coming off the bench that are limited in what they can, or how long they can do it, because of age, like Stackhouse, TMac, Collins, and Dampier.

High-sider

October 18th, 2012
10:39 pm

^Correction: J.E.T.

High-sider

October 18th, 2012
10:41 pm

My post @10:39pm is indicative of an ANAL-MINDED MORON. [LOL]

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 18th, 2012
10:47 pm

Starting Lineup

PG-Teague
SG-Morrow
SF-Stevenson
PF-Jsmoove
C-Horford

Bring Harris off the bench to save his legs. Have Teague and Harris in the game together in the 4th.

ag

October 18th, 2012
10:48 pm

Ken, I was at the game. I wish I could have seen James. The lineup that starting the second half is what you posted, but sub Tolliver. Tolliver pretty much sucked with the second unit, but with him on the court with the starters, he really made the Hawks much bigger.

ZaZa is an assist killer. In the first half – he easily fumbled away three passes. He is much worse than MV7 on holding on to the ball.

ag

October 18th, 2012
10:49 pm

Chris V, NeYo also was on the same kiss cam, but unlike Ludicrous, he actually kissed his date.

Chris Vivlamore

October 18th, 2012
10:52 pm

ag: Thanks. I didn’t pay that close attention.

tyger

October 18th, 2012
11:09 pm

Teague leaves, Hawks take off! Hmmm…..

ed

October 18th, 2012
11:17 pm

devin harris and ludacris look like they could pass for brothers…..lol

Ken Strickland

October 18th, 2012
11:20 pm

I’ll bet Drew already knows who will be on his 12 man active roster, and who will man 4 of his staring 5 positions. I think he’s still not totally decided on who he wants to start at SG. He seems really intrigued with the Teague/Harris combo, but Morrows size and successful long range shooting keeps making it a difficult decision. We’ll be in good shape at SG regardless of which one starts.

hawksordie

October 18th, 2012
11:33 pm

Yea I like this team .if we won 40 of 66 with joe ..marvin ..and the assisted living bench then we should definitely hit 50 maybe or at LEAST 47 win mark with all our speed n reliable shooters…period

Ken Strickland

October 18th, 2012
11:44 pm

AG-I think Drew didn’t play James because he’s seen all he needs to see of him at this point to know what he can do and where he fits on this team. I’m certain he wanted to see what he has in Stevenson before making final cuts.

Would anyone be surprised if Scott made the 12 man roster rather than Tolliver?

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 18th, 2012
11:44 pm

I’m trying to support LD, but just like Paul Johnson/ GT ….. There’s something about him that rubs me the wrong way. Can’t get around it.

Melvin

October 18th, 2012
11:46 pm

I prefer Devin to come off the bench at backup PG b/c we already have too many SGs competing for time. But I guess LD don’t want to make the choice of who would be the 1st guard of the bench between Devin and Lou.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 18th, 2012
11:49 pm

I hope we do win at least 47 games this year …. Seeing it’s an 82 game schedule this year

Najeh Davenpoop

October 18th, 2012
11:51 pm

“Teague leaves, Hawks take off! Hmmm…..”

Teague was +20 in 20 minutes. Please seek professional help.

Melvin

October 19th, 2012
12:03 am

Petro, Scott and Jenkins will be wearing a suit on a nightly basis unless there’s an injury or trade. I think James Anderson will get wave. Both James and Tolliver will make the cut. Hawks will probably carry 15 players this season and send Scott and/or Jenkins to the D-League.

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:06 am

NO!!! Smh, Teague and Harris were Scary Good together before Teague left with the Gimpy ankle (I hope he’s okay). They work VERY well together. Harris/Teague/Al/Smoove all got multiple deflections/steals and by the time the third quarter ended, it went from a tie game to being up 20.

ONCE AGAIN GUYS, I was there! Morrow plays/has played the Majority of his minutes at Small Forward. Check his advanced statistics from seasons past. He performs best at the SF slot.

You can’t NOT Start Devin lol. He’s a former All-Star and way too good to bench.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 19th, 2012
12:16 am

Wow, we were ranked 28th of the 30 NBA fan bases …… Never mind it was The Bleacher Report.

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:16 am

All I can say is, We’re gonna be REALLY good this season. This is going to be one of the most efficient offenses in the league and once again, Devin is a beast. Teague/Lou/Devin ALL draw fouls. Something JJ forgot how to do after the 05-06 season.

By the smirk on Devins face I could tell he had fun Giving rookie Austin Rivers the business

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:19 am

Anthony Davis is a handfull. Before the 3rd I thought he wasn’t sure if they were gonna be able to stop him. He’s like a young Rasheed.

Melvin

October 19th, 2012
12:20 am

I was There,

Glad to here that the Teague/Harris back court work well together. I don’t mind the combo but prefer not as starters.I think we would be giving up too much size to start the game and it would probably force one of our SG to play SF. That will cause even more size deficiencies in the front court to go along with our already undersized front court.

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:33 am

I should mention that Tolliver started at Small Forward in the second half. That’s why his +/- is 20 while D-steve’s is 0

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:39 am

Melvin, So far I’ve seen Drew use Josh, Stevenson, James, Korver, Morrow, and Tolliver at Small Forward. All have done well so far at different times. I think the best thing is that we are so flexible at those spots now. We can adapt to whatever the opposition throws at us.

Anthony Davis’ length really bothered us in the fist half. It made me wish Keith Benson was still on the roster. Unfortuately we have Petro, But as long as Zaza can stay healthy we should be alright.

I was There...

October 19th, 2012
12:43 am

Drew Also used a Lou, Morrow, Tolliver, Scott, Zaza combination toward the end. That’s a decent amount of size. Lou and Morrow play well together. Lou zipped him a couple of nice passes wide open under the basket.

Grandad

October 19th, 2012
12:45 am

2 FOR JOHN DREW

” but just like Paul Johnson / GT …..
There’s something about him that rubs me the wrong way ”

I understand what you mean,
but in my mind I think I`ve figured it out.

1st and foremost – he does not demand excellence.
2ndly – he does not appear to teach or care much for fundamentals:
*footwork, *proper screening techniques, *even defensive stance,
* * * to name three !

Then there is his bull $ # :+ which he perpetually spreads ad nauseam.

hawksordie

October 19th, 2012
12:47 am

U better know HAWKS = contender status ..yeaaa yeaaah o I know what the (writers) & analyst are saying ..hell I even know wat most us fans are scared to say…we are good as any east team but guess what ….WE ARE …LETS FACE AND EMBRACE IT !!!#ATL #HAWKS …WE HERE NOW ..DEEP AND EXPERIENCED

Grandad

October 19th, 2012
12:50 am

2 FOR JOHN DREW

Now … Paul Johnson is just a Jackass;
but; me [especially myself] I cannot hold that against anyone.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 19th, 2012
1:21 am

I feel you G’dad …. Hey, where’s the DMB ?

Ken Strickland

October 19th, 2012
1:41 am

Most if not all of the evaluations are over with. The next 2gms will be tuneups for setting our rotations, particularly at PG, SG, and SF. Once these players get tuned in to the OFF, DEF, and each other, they’ll take off. We’ll probably be the only NBA team with the speed, quickness, athleticism and depth to run with the Heat.

I’m not saying we’ll be as good as they are, but we’ll be as fast, quick, athletic and deep. We’ll definitely be able to give their backcourt more pressure than they’ve experienced so far.

Grandad

October 19th, 2012
1:42 am

M.E. has been busy with family and other commitments.
However, she still reads the blog on occasion
though time has not allowed her to post comments.

Grandad

October 19th, 2012
1:45 am

1:42 am post;
was in response to – ” 2 for J D “

vava74

October 19th, 2012
1:46 am

About BOS @ BRK:

The greatness of an organization is clearly on display when they understand the importance of the little things that make or break an opponent.

BOS clearly went into BRK wanting to to hand over a whopping in national TV in order to deflate BRK from the on set.

Pre-season ball? Yeah, but with BRK trying to assert itself as a top flight franchise, BOS went there to kill their momentum from day 1.

They went to BRK meaning business because you can win games with your mind as well.

Every single BRK fan, player, coach, staff member has been reeled in and brought back to Earth with a clear message from BOS: we have championship pedigree and you are just pretenders.

Masterful work by BOS.

BB Jones

October 19th, 2012
1:48 am

The hawks beat the hornets!!! YES!!! The hawks are back baby!!! NBA finals–book it!!!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 19th, 2012
2:13 am

Thx Grandad …. I remember a few years ago I stumbled onto BIG RAY’s BLOG ….. you, Big Ray, & DMB made me at home even though I don’t post that much, you better believe this is my spot. Didn’t mean to get all mushy on ya lolol !!!!!!!!!!

The Truth

October 19th, 2012
2:21 am

“After a tough beginning, the Hawks erased a nine-point deficit en route to a convincing 97-68 victory over the Hornets Thursday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.”

I too was at the game and though the blow-out victory felt good, I’m not yet impress with LD half-court offense. It seems to be a helter-skelter blend of optional screen plays design to help the shooters get-off their shots. Since our perimeter shooting was mostly off in the beginning, the Hawk struggled to match the efficient pick-and-rows plays the Hornets were running. As a result, yes, the Hawks had a tough beginning. Especially when there was little effort to mix-up this offense style equally with some plays (like pick-and-roll) design for Horford and/or Josh in the paint.

It also seems that putting Devin and Teague together along with Stevenson was not that effective as a starting lineup. Since neither one of these players are natural spot-up shooters, trying to run these exotic screens plays for them (as bread and butter) resulted in inconsistent offense. As a result, the Hawks were down 9 points at the 7 minute mark of the 2nd quarter before they started a rally that tied the game at half-time. The rally was sparked mostly by defense and translations plays leading to layups and dunks. So the strength of this lineup is its quickness in translation not in half-court screen-sets.

The best half-court starting lineup to run screen plays (as bead and butter) need to include pure shooters. Players like Korver or Morrow might be a better option discounting defense. However, I was surprised with the energetic defense Morrow showed in this game.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 19th, 2012
2:52 am

The Truth
October 19th, 2012
2:21 am

“After a tough beginning, the Hawks erased a nine-point deficit en route to a convincing 97-68 victory over the Hornets Thursday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.”

I too was at the game and though the blow-out victory felt good, I’m not yet impress with LD half-court offense.

What do you expect from a coach that has only drawn up ISO-Joe plays for 2 years?

jjm

October 19th, 2012
3:00 am

Wait luda and ne yo was on kiss cam? I bet ne yo actually tried to kiss him