Archive for October, 2012

Atlanta Hawks practice report: Time for regular rotation to take shape (updated)

Updates with Carldell Johnson being waived.

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Coach Larry Drew and the players I spoke to are not overly concerned with a 1-3 start to the preseason, including losses in the past three games. Exhibition games are about getting a look at different combinations of players in different situations.

“No, there are no issues there,” Drew said when I asked if he was concerned about the three losses. “Going into the preseason my main objective was to put a lot of different combinations on the floor to see what I have. When you have that many new faces in a training camp, there is a lot of learning, there is a lot of teaching, that has to be done.

“Therefore, the games are going to have to be used as learning experiences for us. Basically, going into these preseason games, I knew that’s what I had to use them for. As I said, as we move further down the road we’ll start putting together a more realistic combination of players out on the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Third straight preseason loss has record at 1-3

Vivlamore reporting.

Just a quick blog with some notes about last night’s 102-98 preseason loss to the Pacers before I head to practice this afternoon.

* As I reported Monday, Devin Harris did make his preseason debut against Indiana. The guard was in the starting lineup and scored 11 points with five rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.

* The rest of the starting lineup was Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Teague.

* Josh Smith and Al Horford were inactive. Both played in Memphis on the first leg of the trip. Carldell Johnson, Johan Petro and DeShawn Stevenson (knee) did not play as coaches decisions.

* The Hawks were held to 38.7 percent from the field (36 of 93). Lou Williams (18 points),Tolliver (14), Korver (13),  Ivan Johnson (12), Harris (11) and Teague (11) were all double-digit scorers.

* The Pacers shot 44.6 percent from the field (33 of 74), making three less field goals in 19 fewer shots than the Hawks.

* The Hawks have allowed more than 100 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Return of Harris gives Hawks flexibility at guard

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Devin Harris that will appear in Wednesday’s print edition of the AJC. The Hawks play at the Pacers tonight (I am not there) and Harris is expected to make his exhibition debut.

The Hawks are just now getting an up-close look at the assets of Devin Harris. However, coach Larry Drew has known for months how he intends to use the versatile guard this season.

Harris, acquired from the Jazz in a trade for Marvin Williams on July 11, reported to the team’s facility by the end of that month to begin workouts. He began having trouble with his knee and eventually required a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) shot. Harris was cleared for full-contact practice last week. He had not appeared in any of the Hawks’ previous three exhibition games prior to Tuesday’s game at the Pacers, where he is expected to debut.

Hawks guard Devin Harris, at a recent practice, has been cleared for full-contact practice and could make his exhibition debut Tuesday at the Pacers. BOB ANDRES  BANDRES@AJC.COM

Hawks guard Devin Harris, at a recent workout, has been cleared for full-contact practice and could make his exhibition debut Tuesday at …

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Atlanta Hawks: Harris could make debut Tuesday

Vivlamore reporting.

Sorry folks. Took  Sunday off since I didn’t travel to Memphis for the 110-102 exhibition loss to the Grizzlies. With no practice today, team went straight to Indiana for tomorrow night’s game against the Pacers, I spent most of my day getting a new company-issued laptop. (Let’s see if this one writes better stories!)

Devin Harris is traveling with the team. Although he did not play in the loss to the Grizzlies, I’m told there is a good chance he could play Tuesday as he has been battling knee issues. I will have a bigger story on Harris tomorrow.

In other notes from the game:

* Damion James was in the starting lineup for the second straight game. It’s obvious that Larry Drew and his staff are taking a long look at him for one of the available spots.

* Zaza Pachulia made his debut after suffering with a groin injury. He started and had nine points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.

* Other starters were Ivan Johnson, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague.

* The …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: More defense, tweets

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The Hawks spent the majority of Saturday’s practice working on defense as coach Larry Drew and staff seek to correct the mistakes made in the exhibition loss to San Antonio Wednesday.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we need to put in but there were a lot of things that we didn’t do a good job of in San Antonio,” Drew said. “These last couple days we spent a lot of time watching film and coming out on the court and working on it. I want it to have a carry-over effect in our next game.”

Drew said he wants to be satisfied that the defensive concepts and philosophies already installed have taken grasp before moving on to new ones.

*The Hawks leave for Memphis Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s 6 p.m. game against the Grizzlies. (I will not be attending).

* Drew said he has yet to decide the starting lineup for the game, but expects it to be different than the ones used against the Heat and Spurs.

* Drew, unsolicited, praised …

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Atlanta Hawks: Williams kept eye and ear on Hawks

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Lou Williams that will appear in the Sunday print edition of the AJC.

The Hawks always had the inside track in their pursuit of Lou Williams.

The point guard says he envisioned himself one day playing for his hometown team while growing up in metro-Atlanta. After seven seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted him straight out of South Gwinnett High, Williams didn’t take long to make up his mind once a free agent this summer.

“It was actually a speedy process,” Williams said after a recent training camp practice. “It wasn’t difficult for me. There were three or four teams who were serious about getting me. Atlanta was one of them. I kind of gave Atlanta the edge because this was the hometown team. This was actually a team I’ve wanted to play for in middle school and high school …

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Atlanta Hawks: Three vying for two roster spots

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on the roster battle that will appear in the Saturday print version of the AJC.

The Hawks’ final two roster spots – should the team elect to keep the 15-player limit –appears to be a three-man battle between James Anderson, Damion James and Anthony Tolliver.

The Hawks have a training camp roster of 17 players after the release of forward/center Keith Benson and guard Isma’il Muhammad Thursday. With 13 guaranteed contracts, a maximum of two sports remain. Carldell Johnson is considered a long-shot to make the team with the number of point guards already on the roster.

And then there were three.

* Tolliver, a 6-foot-8 forward, has the most NBA experience. He has played four seasons, including the past two with the Timberwolves. He has career averages of 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21.4 minutes with stints that also included the Spurs, Trail Blazers and Warriors.

“I think I’m unique,” said Tolliver, a late …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: Defense, cuts and tweets

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Upon returning to practice after Wednesday’s 101-99 exhibition loss at San Antonio, it’s clear the team is still working out defensive issues.

“We spent 90 percent of our practice just going over some defensive situations that we didn’t do a good job with in San Antonio,” coach Larry Drew following Friday’s practice. “We watched film this morning and made some corrections. We want the focus on getting back to what we’ve done the first week of training camp as far as transition defense, our pick-and-roll coverages, our play in the post, our weak-side help. All those things we want to get back to and get the guys’ minds trained to do it one way. Clearly, particularly that first half, we didn’t do a good job with that.”

The Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, shot 51.9 percent from the field in the victory.

“It was the most glaring issue I had,” Drew said of the defensive issues. “I …

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Atlanta Hawks: Benson, Muhammad released

Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks released forward/center Keith Benson and guard Isma’il Muhammad Thursday, trimming their training camp roster to 17 players.

Benson (6-foot-11, 230 pounds) was a second-round draft pick of the Hawks (48th overall) in 2011. After being waived by the Hawks, he signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors and appeared in three games. He also appeared in 20 games with Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Benson had 10 points and two rebounds playing 10 minutes of Wednesday’s exhibition against the Spurs.

“I’ve been a lot more aggressive,” Benson told the AJC early in training camp. “I’ve worked on my overall game, my shooting, my defense. I think I’m stronger and am an improved player from last year.

“I came in for some workouts and they were impressed with my workouts. They liked what I did in summer league. I’m just trying to build on that.”

Muhammad (6-6, 228) played at W.D. …

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Atlanta Hawks: Playbook getting new look without Iso-Joe pages

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

The pages of the Hawks’ playbook changed, one by one, with each addition to the team’s new-look roster this offseason. However, the biggest changes were made after one significant subtraction.

The trade of six-time all-star Joe Johnson to the Nets in July sent Hawks coach Larry Drew and his staff back to the drawing board. Pages and pages were eliminated. The Iso-Joe offense needed to be replaced.

“We’ve been in the past, predominately, a post-up team particularly at the 2-spot or the 3-spot with Joe,” Drew said recently. “We ran a lot of things through him. Now, we’ve got to change that.”

Point guard Jeff Teague said the roster makeover will help him and the team be more creative and fast-paced. No longer will his first option be to find Johnson when bringing the ball up court.

The Hawks added a number of players in the deal for Johnson …

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