Archive for October, 2012

Atlanta Hawks practice report: Starting lineup preview?

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Coach Larry Drew said he still hasn’t decided which players will dress for Sunday’s exhibition opener against the Heat at Philips Arena. Game time is 2 p.m. There will be no television coverage (as with all preseason games) and no radio coverage. I believe the only radio coverage during the preseason will be the final two games – Oct. 20 vs. Dallas and Oct. 26 at Detroit.

Drew would also not disclose his starting lineup for the game. My guess would be that the lineup looks a lot like one of the practice groups from Saturday. The white group consisted of Jeff Teague (PG), DeShawn Stevenson (SG), Kyle Korver (SF), Josh Smith (PF) and Al Horford (C). While Anthony Toliver also wore white, the first five were on the floor as coaches went over game-planning for the Heat. Drew would say that in addition to returning starters Teague, Smith and Horford that Korver and Stevenson will “play a big role for us this season.”

Drew also said he would …

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Korver had strange odyssey to Atlanta

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Kyle Korver for Saturday’s print edition of the AJC:

Kyle Korver has landed in Atlanta – and what a trip it was just to get here.

Perhaps odyssey is a more apt description of the three-week process that resulted in Korver being traded to the Hawks from the Bulls this offseason. The long-range shooting specialist said he has “good vibes” with his new teammates early in training camp. However, there were some unsettling moments while his future was being determined during two cross-country trips – one by car, one by plane – with his six-month pregnant wife Juliet.

Kyle Korver averaged 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.6 minutes a game for the Bulls last season. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Kyle Korver averaged 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.6 minutes a game for the Bulls last season. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Korver said he knew following last season that with the Bulls under financial constraints they would not be able to keep most of their bench players, including his $5 million salary. The team agreed to work with Korver and …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: All 19 won’t dress for exhibition opener

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

All 19 players currently on the Hawks’ training camp roster will not dress when the team opens the exhibition season Sunday against the Heat.

Coach Larry Drew said the roster is too large to try to get all the players in the  game. He declined to say which players might sit out, a determination that will be made by the coaching staff  Saturday.

Those players who do not dress will work out Sunday morning.

“We’ll be looking at who has absorbed what we’ve put in,” Drew said. “Strategically, we’ll look at matchups and some of the combinations we want to put out on the floor [during the regular season].

* Friday morning the Hawks ran through a non-contact practice with full participation. The team will run a full-contact practice this evening and play a three-quarters scrimmage.

“I’m expecting some guys to get lost, especially in a game-type situation,” Drew said. “That is what training camp is all about.”

Again, I …

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Atlanta Hawks: Morrow and Muhammad reunited

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice this morning.

Here is the story I wrote on Anthony Morrow and Isama’il Muhammad that will appear in the Sunday print edition of the AJC:

Two of the newest Hawks return to Atlanta with their alma mater literally serving as the backdrop for next phase of their basketball careers.

Only now, student has become teacher.

Anthony Morrow stepped on the campus of Georgia Tech as a freshman for the 2004-05 collegiate season. He was taken under the wing of senior Isma’il Muhammad. All these years later, the two have been reunited in Hawks training camp. Here it’s Morrow, the veteran of four NBA seasons, guiding Muhammad, still trying to make a roster after crossing the globe in pursuit of his dream.

“It’s funny but it’s easy because we are friends off the court,” Muhammad said of the juxtaposition. “It doesn’t make it too weird but it is funny that I showed him the ropes and now he’s the veteran and I’m the rookie.”

Morrow …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: Reaction to anti-flopping

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Hawks coaches and players applauded the NBA’s effort to eliminate flopping from their game Thursday. They admit it won’t be easy.

The NBA announced an anti-flopping rule on Wednesday with an increasing fine schedule for multiple offenders. According to the league flopping will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.

“I think it’s needed,” Hawks guard Kyle Korver said following Thursday’s training camp practice. “It’s become too big a part of the game. I think it takes away from the purity of the game. The fear is that it ends up like European soccer where there is all kinds of flopping. Nobody wants that. It’s disgusting.”

Coach Larry Drew said the possibility of the anti-flopping rule was discussed at the coaches meeting, held in Chicago this summer. While Drew said he understands seriousness of the league’s intent, he’s not …

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Atlanta Hawks: Q and A with DeShawn Stevenson

Vivlamore reporting before Thursday’s practice.

Here is a brief interview I did with veteran guard DeShawn Stevenson who came over from the Nets in the Joe Johnson trade. He was part of the Mavericks’ NBA championship team in 2011.

Q. What were your thoughts about being traded to the Hawks?

A. I thought it was a good situation. I play better on playoff teams. I think this is a great playoff-caliber team. We’ve got great pieces. Me coming here, I was very excited. I think we have a lot of talent on this team and can do something good.

Q. When the trade happened, did you immediately start breaking down the roster to see where you would fit in?

A. Not really because I’m a veteran. It’s 82 games. You can be hot, you cannot be hot and at the end of the season be hot again. It’s all about being physically and mentally ready. I know this team. I’ve been in the league for 13 years. It’s always been a talented team and they need guy to go out there and be a defensive …

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Healthy Horford rejoins Hawks revamped roster

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Al Horford for the Thursday print edition of the AJC.

It turns out there are parts of the world where news doesn’t travel at the speed of Twitter.

Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts after dunking the ball during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs at Philips Arena in May. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts after dunking the ball during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs at Philips Arena in May. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

During much of the Hawks’ busy offseason, Al Horford trained with the Dominican Republic National team. The center was in South America for a three-week stint – during which the Hawks traded six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and former first-round pick Marvin Williams in separate deals. Horford was without the internet and had to rely on phone calls from his father, Tito, for one shocking update after another.

In addition, Horford’s name was often mentioned in rumors as the Hawks were one team interested in trading for Dwight Howard.

“For me it was a good time to be away from everything,” Horford said.

A …

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NBA adopts no-flopping rule with penalties

Vivlamore reporting.

The NBA will adopt an anti-flopping rule beginning this season, the league announced Wednesday.

According to a press release issued by the league, flopping will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.

“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson said in the release. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: Day 2 gets feisty

Vivlamore reporting.

Here is today’s practice report from Day 2 of training camp practices.

* Zaza Pachulia (leg) and Devin Harris (knee) again practiced on a limited basis. They sat out contact drills, including 5-on-5 sets. Coach Larry Drew said the team is being cautious with the veterans.

“They both are moving really well on the floor but we’ll keep an eye on them day-to-day,” Drew said.

* Drew said that players got a little edgy in some of the drills, particularly on the defensive end. The confrontations occurred before the media was allowed in to watch the last half hour of practice but it didn’t sound like anything serious.

“We had some guys starting to go at it a little bit,” Drew said. “I embrace that because I can see they are all being competitive and they are all committed to defending.”

* Not being able to see much of practice, it’s hard to get a real grasp on the players’ conditioning. I did get to see some running and two players stood out. …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew another entering free-agent year

Vivlamore reporting before the second day of Hawks training camp practice.

Larry Drew is another of the Hawks entering his free-agent year.

The head coach embarks on the final of the three-year deal he signed in 2010 to take over the franchise, which included the option the team picked up this summer for the upcoming season.

Hawks coach Larry Drew gets a fist bump of Josh Smith during the team's media day Monday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Hawks coach Larry Drew gets a fist bump from Josh Smith during the team's media day Monday. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

New general manager Danny Ferry agreed with the decision to pick up Drew’s option and the two will wait until after the season to discuss the coach’s future.

“My focus is to go out and coach as well as I can,” Drew told the AJC. “I don’t want to concern myself. I had a conversation with my representative back in the early part of the summer and let it be known that I think the last couple of years speak for themselves as far as my ability as a head coach in this league. Things that I can’t control I’ve made my mind …

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