Archive for October, 2012

Hawks to pay GA 400 tolls Wednesday

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A Hawks cheerleader pays tolls for drivers on Ga. 400 on Wednesday morning. (Photo by John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

The Hawks will be sponsoring both the Northbound and Southbound tolls on GA 400 on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

All 50 cent, cashier and Cruise Card/Peach Pass lanes’ tolls will be paid for by the Hawks during the two-hour span. In addition to the paid toll sponsorship, Harry the Hawk and the Hawks Cheerleaders will be at the tolls handing out magnet game schedules, Hawks branded air fresheners and $50 Hawks Cards good towards the purchase of tickets to Hawks home games in November and December.

“Our hometown fans were introduced to a team with a lot of new faces this preseason, and now the Atlanta Hawks are ready to get the 2012-13 season underway,” Bob Williams, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena President, said in a statement. “As an expression of our gratitude to the Metro Atlanta area and our fans for their support, we will pay all tolls during the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Roster breakdown

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice. Here is the roster breakdown story for Tuesday’s print edition of the AJC.

Less than a week remains before NBA rosters must be trimmed to a maximum of 15 players by Monday. The Hawks brought 19 players into training camp and the roster now stands at one over the limit. It is possible the team will go into the regular season with fewer than the maximum, allowing management flexibility to make an early-season trade or signing.

Here is a look at how the roster is shaping up prior to the Nov. 2 regular-season opener.

Roster size

The Hawks will have at least 13 players on their roster. Only 13 will be active for games. They have guaranteed contracts with 11 veterans and first-round draft pick John Jenkins. Second-round pick Mike Scott has a partially guaranteed contract. His contract becomes fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster Jan. 10.

Of keeping all 13 guarantees on the roster head coach Larry Drew said, “That is pretty …

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Atlanta Hawks: Injury update, Petro frustrated

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice this afternoon.

Here are a couple of items and updates left over from Sunday.

* On the injury front, Jeff Teague (sprained left ankle), Zaza Pachulia (sprained left ankle), John Jenkins (left hand contusion) were held out of the open practice. Al Horford (right calf) was limited. We’ll check on them today.

Horford said he experienced tightness behind his right knee prior to Saturday’s exhibition game against the Mavericks. When it didn’t loosen up, he came out of the game for precautionary reasons for treatment. He said he is confident that he will return to full-contact practice today or Tuesday and play in Friday’s exhibition season finale in Detroit.

“I don’t want any little thing holding me back for the regular season,” Horford said.

Pachulia’s sprained ankle is also progressing. He said when he first was injured last week against the Hornets he feared it was very bad. However, he was able to continue. Overnight the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Many to fill the role at small forward

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The search is nearing an end.

Or is it?

As the Hawks wind down training camp, the revamped roster has taken shape over the course of six exhibition games. One of the biggest questions entering the preseason was what coach Larry Drew would do at the small forward position. Or call it the 3-guard, if you prefer.

The answer is Drew has options – and plenty of them. He likes it that way.

DeShawn Stevenson, Kyle Korver, Damion James, Anthony Tolliver and Josh Smith have played at the 3 during exhibitions. Stevenson and Korver  are guards.

“As I’ve said going into this preseason, my main focus was to really see what kind of combinations we can put out there and be effective,” Drew said. “We’ve gone with DeShawn at 3. I like that. We’ve gone with Kyle at the 3. I like that. We’ve gone with Josh at some 3. I like that.

“That gives us some flexibility from the standpoint that if we need to adapt and make some minor adjustments …

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Atlanta Hawks: Offense steps up in win over Mavs (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

The Hawks took their new up-tempo offense out for another test drive Saturday.

It started fast and ran well.

The Hawks jumped on the Mavericks early, scoring the first eight points, en route to a 110-94 victory at Philips Arena.

Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver opened with 3-pointers and the Mavericks missed their first five shots. The Hawks (3-3) shot 48.7 percent from the field in the first half (19 of 39). By the end of the first 24 minutes, all 10 Hawks who played scored at least three points. The Hawks also got 3-pointers from five different players in building a 58-43 halftime lead. They led by as many as 19 points.

“That’s a good way to start it off,” Josh Smith said. “We have so many weapons on the perimeter and guys who can knock down jump shots. It makes it easier on us. That was a good way to start off. I think it picked our energy level up on the defensive end because we made it easier on the offense. There are going …

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Atlanta Hawks game thread: Teague out vs. Mavs

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

A couple of news items before tonight’s exhibition against the Mavs.

* Jeff Teague (sprained left ankle), Zaza Pachulia (sprained left ankle) and John Jenkins (left hand contusion) will not play tonight. Coach Larry Drew said he did not have a timetable for Teague’s return, calling the point guard day-to-day. Teague said he thought he might be out “a couple of days.” Teague and Pachulia were injured against the Hornets on Thursday. Pachulia returned to the game

“We’ll keep him out for precautionary reasons,” Drew said of Pachulia. “No need to rush him back. There are some other guys I want to get a look at.”

With only one exhibition game remaining following Saturday night, Drew hopes to get a regular lineup in place. However, a lot of that may depend on injuries.

“I really, really hope so but that will depend on how well the guys who are injured come along,” Drew said of putting that lineup together. “Hopefully we …

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Atlanta Hawks: Rookies getting noticed

Vivlamore reporting. The Hawks are off today. Here is my story on rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott that will appear in Saturday’s print edition of the AJC.

John Jenkins and Mike Scott are on the verge of doing something two Hawks picks haven’t done in four previous drafts.

Make the team.

Consider the team’s recent history:

* 2011 – Keith Benson

* 2010 – Damion James (traded) and Pape Sy

* 2009 – Jeff Teague and Sergiy Gladyr

* 2008 – No picks

Of that group, only Teague made the team in his draft year. You have to go back to 2007 when Al Horford and Acie Law were kept on the roster as rookies.

Coach Larry Drew said Jenkins and Scott possess an NBA skill set. While the two are still learning the speed of the professional game, they will, in all likelihood, be contributors off the Hawks bench this season.

First-round draft pick John Jenkins works on his 3-point shot during a recent Hawks practice. BOB ANDRES  BANDRES@AJC.COM

First-round draft pick John Jenkins works on his 3-point shot during a recent Hawks practice. BOB ANDRES BANDRES@AJC.COM

Jenkins, the team’s first-round pick …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. Hornets exhibition game thread

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,” …

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Atlanta Hawks: Preseason more about evaluation

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on the Hawks that will appear in Thursday’s print edition of the AJC.

Three straight exhibition losses are not a concern to Hawks coach Larry Drew. This preseason has been about learning to best utilize the many new players at his disposal.

Drew has used a different starting lineup in each of the four exhibition games. That has been by design. While the results of the games matter to the competitive nature of coach and players, Drew said his top objective was to see what his players could, and could not, do in a number of different situations.

The Hawks (1-3) have three exhibition games remaining, including Thursday’s home game against the Hornets. Now comes the time for Drew to move toward the lineup and bench rotation that will open the regular season next month.

“As we move closer toward the end of our exhibition we’ll probably start using more of the rotation that we are going to be using during the regular season,” Drew said …

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