Atlanta Hawks: Smith out vs. OKC with sprained ankle

Vivlamore reporting from Oklahoma City. Sorry for the latest of the blog but news broke about Josh Smith as I was literally boarding my (delayed) flight.

Oklahoma City — An already tough task just got tougher.

The Hawks play their first road game of the season, against defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Sunday, without star Josh Smith. The forward sprained his right ankle in the Hawks’ season-opening loss to Houston Friday and did not travel with the team Saturday. According to a team statement, Smith’s status will be updated as appropriate.

Smith was the Hawks leading scorer last season, appearing in all 66 games. In the loss to the Rockets, Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks were outrebounded 58-36 against the Rockets with Smith accounting for nearly a third of their boards.

Johan Petro, the 7-foot backup center also did not travel with the team due to a sore back. Petro was inactive against the Rockets.

Already at a size disadvantage, the absence of the 6-foot-9 Smith will present further rebounding problems for the Hawks. Coach Larry Drew did not pin the Friday’s woes on his big men alone.

“There are areas of this game I thought we weren’t very good or polished, particularly on the boards,” Drew said of the loss. “We didn’t do a good job on the boards. And it wasn’t just our big guys. Our perimeters were not in position to chase down long rebounds. Therefore it allowed them second opportunities. They are a big team, (center Omer) Asik he is a task because of his size, but there were a lot of rebounds we didn’t chase them down. That’s not on our big guys. That’s on our perimeters.”

Of particular concern wer the 58 Rockets rebounds, 23 were on the offensive end. That included 17 offensive boards in the first half.

Without Smith, even more will be expected of Al Horford. The center did not have any offensive touches down low in the first half against the Rockets. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds.

According to Horford, it’s going to take time for the new-look roster to get in sync.

“No, I didn’t,” Horford said Friday about his lack of first-half chances. “I’m going to just say it was our first game and our guys are just trying to feel things out and get used to things. I was there. I just need to make myself more available but that was something that I noticed as well. I wasn’t getting the touches.

“We have to do a better job of trusting our offense and running it. It is the first game but we have some work ahead of us.”

There were other issues against the Rockets that will need correcting.

* The Rockets went to the free-throw line 29 times, converting 25 of the chances. By stark contrast, the Hawks went to the free-throw line just 17 times, converting 15 of their chances.

* Drew said his team settled for too many jump shots after some early success.

* There were far too many defensive lapses, especially after a Hawks basket. James Harden, who finished with 45 points for the Rockets, converted many baskets over the top of the Hawks defense.

With all the deficiencies, and a third-quarter deficit that reached 16 points, the Hawks stormed back and briefly took a fourth-quarter lead. The new up-tempo offense led to 33 fast-break points. That is the positive they take from opening night.

“We were able to give up that many offensive rebounds and get outrebound by that wide a margin and still have a shot to win the basketball game,” Smith said Friday. “That shows big resiliency in the team. We have a lot of fight in us. We just have to tweak some things. It’s still early. This is the first game. We are not going to panic. We are going to go back to the drawing back and see what we need to do to succeed.”

The Hawks seek their first road win of the new campaign after losing all four of their exhibitions away from home. A high quality opponent in the Thunder leaves less of a margin for error Sunday.

- Chris Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

* Rockets 109, Hawks 102

* Smith on verge of statistical milestone

* Smith, Horford are interim captains

* Reasons for optimism

* Five things we learned from the preseason

* Teague, Pachulia return to full-contact practice, ready for opener

* Failure not an option for Tolliver

* Hawks ownership ‘extremely’ fortunate to keep stake in team

* Anderson, James waived in final cuts

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

111 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe

November 3rd, 2012
5:37 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

November 3rd, 2012
5:39 pm

It’s obvious KD will destroy us, but I’m sure Teague will go Houdini too and get sonned by Westbrook

grimey

November 3rd, 2012
5:43 pm

People believe Smith is 6′7 even though he is clearly taller then ivan and Scott

mike

November 3rd, 2012
5:45 pm

Hope LD puts in Ivan to bang around a little bit. I know he’s small, but he’s effective and he plays mind games with opponents.

Perimeter D has to get better, or they need to trade one of these guards for a decent SF.

MattP

November 3rd, 2012
5:51 pm

Now the question is, who will Drew start with Smith not playing? We will have very little centers so he will probably not start Zaza. He does not like Ivan. I am guessing Tolliver starts at PF… lol.

Grandmaster JeJe

November 3rd, 2012
5:53 pm

We are short on bigs EVERY season. Thats why we get scrubs like Dampier playing mins

Najeh, is our goal to get the Big 2 next summer and if not, rebuild?

Chris Vivlamore

November 3rd, 2012
5:54 pm

JeJe: Fixed it. Typo while crammed in typing on a plane. Thanks for the catch.

Chris Vivlamore

November 3rd, 2012
5:58 pm

Anybody know where to eat in OKC?

jamez

November 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

why did ivan not play at all yesterday? also why didnt jenkins or morrow play?(i think the last two were dnp-cd’s but wut about ivan??)

Chris Vivlamore

November 3rd, 2012
6:03 pm

jamez: I will ask at tomorrow’s shoot-around.

MattP

November 3rd, 2012
6:04 pm

jamez,

It is Drew, he thinks he knows everything about matchups. Ivan should have definitely played because we were getting killed on the boards and Morrow would not have hurt to give a few minutes early on over Korver to see if he was shooting hot. Expected Drew to ignore Jenkins, we all know Drew does not give rookies a chance.

a bird in the hand>2 in the busch.

November 3rd, 2012
6:07 pm

good. Hawks will do better without his lollygagging and whining to the refs. he is a run killer, did it several times last night. trade him now.

jamez

November 3rd, 2012
6:08 pm

thankc chris v. please reply back here or make an article because i put a fake email address

PEDRO EL GITANO

November 3rd, 2012
6:25 pm

HORFORD 5 REBOTES EN 37 MINUTOS Y LA CULPA NO ES DE NUESTROS HOMBRES ALTOS???????????
!!!!!!!!!!!!! LARRY DREW NO TIENE NINGUNA PERSONALIDAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SuckerFree

November 3rd, 2012
6:28 pm

The Hawks weren’t getting calls going to the basket either…particularly Teague & Lou but Larry Drew shows his ineptitude yet again.

IF he would have put Ivan and Zaza in the game the rebounding would have been more even. Instead this fool puts Anthony Tolliver (really who is this guy??? he’s a scrub) for extended minutes and proves that Larry Drew has no clue. No one can understand his obsession with playing the 12th man (remember Jason Collins??? smh). Anthony Morrow didn’t even play.

Not only that, we had a defensive specialist in our camp at the proper size (6′6 – to 6′8) named Damion James and he could have at the very least bothered James Harden.

By far we will have the smallest backcourt in the league with all these 6 foot point guards.

Rufus1

November 3rd, 2012
6:30 pm

Josh Smith = Mike Vick

All the talent, none of the brains… Now he(Josh) is about to be exposed and his trade value will FALLL!

Korver- 5mil
Marvin-8mil
Korver is half the players, because defense and rebounding MATTER!

glw

November 3rd, 2012
6:30 pm

With Josh hurting and Petro virtually useless, I suspect that Ferry will be making some type of move soon to get some size for this height challenged team.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

November 3rd, 2012
6:52 pm

To all you ppl saying “it’s just 1 game”:

Do u think our defensive and lack of wings is going to magically be better the rest of the season? No. There’s season reason for concern

Viv, never been to OKC. Let us know what you find. Do you usually reply to fans on twitter?

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
6:53 pm

Tolliver starts! That’s his guy?

Oh the Humanity!

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
6:55 pm

“Without Smith, even more will be expected of Al Horford. The center did not have any offensive touches down low in the first half against the Rockets. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds.” C-Viv

I’m concerned! Oh Boy……

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

November 3rd, 2012
7:14 pm

Horford doesn’t get many post touches because his post game is mediocre

Buddy Grizzard

November 3rd, 2012
7:14 pm

“Buddy, why do the Hawks seem to miss on guys like Asik?”

I had hoped with Danny Ferry taking over and saying he had final say on this year’s draft pick that the Hawks would get a good player in the deepest draft in recent memory. I really liked PJ3 and Festus Ezeli. I can excuse passing on PJ3 due to the health concerns, but I can’t fathom why a team would pass up a player that could develop into the starting center this team needs for a volume shooter that can’t guard any position at the NBA level.

Ezeli hasn’t done anything yet, but he looks like another player like Asik. They are both raw offensively but physically imposing defensively. Houston has other scorers. They don’t need to post Asik up every other play to generate offense. They need him to eat up rebounds and play defense.

Leon

November 3rd, 2012
7:26 pm

If I were Drew I would start Ivan or Zaza, but they both will get extended minutes. Kover was useless last night. Also, anybody that thinks Lou Williams or Devin Harris is better than Teague is mistaken. Teague’s defense is head and shoulders better than the other two. They may be better perimeter shooters, but that is about it.

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
7:39 pm

Lin took Teague’s lunch money, guess he aint overrated either? Hmmmmmm

Dude almost dropped a triple-doubble! Huh?

Jae Evolution

November 3rd, 2012
7:44 pm

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
7:45 pm

Agree Buddy, the Jenkins pick could have been better served with a Big! Jenkins is not the answer this year or next..That’s why he’ll be glued to the bench as long as Larry Leisure is coaching..

Horford needs go ball out and grab 18- 25 rebounds tomorrow against the Western Conference Champs!

No more excuses! His buddy Josh will not be there to hold his hands…

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
7:48 pm

Do not be shocked if Kover and Tolliver start against the champs!

Rusty

November 3rd, 2012
7:53 pm

Lin is a hard guy to stop,JT is by far our best pg,now if the big dummy would just get out of his face & would only keep him in the lineup he will be very good.

Rusty

November 3rd, 2012
7:56 pm

Mr Ferry please straighten out your dummy LD.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 3rd, 2012
7:57 pm

“Najeh, is our goal to get the Big 2 next summer and if not, rebuild?”

Probably, although “rebuild” isn’t going to take 8 years in the hands of a competent GM. I would be surprised if Ferry doesn’t trade one or two of the veterans on this roster (Korver, Morrow, etc.) for draft picks halfway through the season.

Scoop

November 3rd, 2012
8:02 pm

I would bet money on the Hawks beating OKC!!

I have argued for two years that Smoove is a liability on any team AND HE HAS SHOWED NO IMPROVEMENT THIS SEASON!

Same ol’ same ol’ with Smoove: turnover-prone, terrible shot selection (as bad as a turnover), and shoddy 1-on-1 defense. Smoove is a good weak side shot blocker, but a terrible post defender. Hes too soft.

The Rockets realize this! Did anyone notice CARLOS DELFINO guarding Josh the entire 2nd half? And what does josh do…he settled for jumpers, b/c hes soft. What’s more, he literally complains more than anybody ive ever seen! This negative attitude rubs off on the team. I.E. the argument he and Lou Williams got into in 4th quarter when we couldnt even inbound the ball.

Our lineup vs OKC will be Zaza, Horford, Korver, Stephenson, Teague. I like this much better than our opening lineup. Horford can play his natural position and can be focus of offense w/o Smoove whining for the ball.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

November 3rd, 2012
8:02 pm

“There are areas of this game I thought we weren’t very good or polished, particularly on the boards,” Drew said of the loss. “We didn’t do a good job on the boards. And it wasn’t just our big guys. Our perimeters were not in position to chase down long rebounds. Therefore it allowed them second opportunities. They are a big team, (center Omer) Asik he is a task because of his size, but there were a lot of rebounds we didn’t chase them down. That’s not on our big guys. That’s on our perimeters.”

Ok this LD dude needs a drug test forreal. He is delusional saying stuff like this. I told yall he does not have the heart to blame Horford or Zaza for anything. Just blame everything on the guards. SMGDH

Najeh Davenpoop

November 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

Toronto just dropped 35 points on the Nets in the first quarter.

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
8:10 pm

Larry just threw his guards under the bus!!!!!!!!!!! Poor Larry. Asik is just too big for the Hawks? OMG!!!!!!

But he left out one guy? Hmmmmmmm

.

Slimjr

November 3rd, 2012
8:15 pm

The bigs gave up 23 some odd offensive rebounds and he blames the guards?

Is Trailways still operational?

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

November 3rd, 2012
8:16 pm

I’m ready to see us draft some real players. Enough of these cupcake picks

High-sider

November 3rd, 2012
8:31 pm

Jim Mora Sr.

November 3rd, 2012
8:32 pm

Can the Hawks just sign Damion James already?

Chris Vivlamore

November 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

JeJe: I try to reply to fans on Twitter. Sometimes it’s easier than the blog because this gets some many comments that it’s hard to keep up with all of them.

hawksordie

November 3rd, 2012
8:38 pm

It is NOT OUR PICKS ..THAT AINT THE PROBLEM GUYS!!! John Jenkins and MIJE SCOTT ARE VERY NBA READY ! Believe that!! It is LARRY DREWS FAULT WITH HIS IDIOTIC ROTATION METHOD!! He is an idiot that couldnt get a rec league team a championship trophy im telling u guys !! He is probably a decent man but ciach wise he IS NOT BRIGHT!! All the bad calls he not once got on the refs butts!!! And tgat is huge !! If they woulda called those calls on popovich or phil jackson tgey woulda BEENNNNN THROWN OUT THE GAME OR TECHD UP!! Then the refs respect them from then on period..no body respects weakness in sports

hawksordie

November 3rd, 2012
8:41 pm

Why would u dnp cd ANY of players much less new n young talent!! Thats ignorant n stupid I would at least try jenkins scott morrow n ALL THE PLAYERS THATS WHY THEY ARE THERE DUHHH WAT A FREAKIN DUMMY ld is ..wowwwww

Alex

November 3rd, 2012
8:43 pm

He needs to let Ivan or ZaZa start against OKC. Let Horford take on Ibaka, and let ZaZa bang with Perkins and Ivan outhustle Collison. Also, Tolliver needs to be glued to the bench…let Scott play.

keith

November 3rd, 2012
9:01 pm

If i am the Hawks GM i would be on the phone with Eddy Currys’ agent. He can not be worse than our current group of Bigs. Curry is not a good defensive player, however, he can score ad-nauseam.
Low Risk-High reward….

hawksordie

November 3rd, 2012
9:15 pm

Al horford is good ok.so he had a half a## game ..he definitely will redeem.his self period calm down hirford smith teague and all the players arent the problem at all its the COACH GUYS!! Get it thru your head man its the coachhhhhhh with his offbeat rotations and poor matchup recognition.. Period

Najeh Davenpoop

November 3rd, 2012
9:31 pm

Danny Ferry had a “town hall meeting” with the season ticket holders before yesterday’s game, and someone on the Peachtree Hoops blog posted a recap. Worth a read.

Ken Strickland

November 3rd, 2012
9:32 pm

As many things that went wrong last night, including both players and coaching, some good things happened that many are overlooking. We could have easily won that gm if we had better coaching and player utilization, which would have had a positive effect on our rebounding and DEF. Right now, I’m wondering if Drew will try to contain Durant with a SF rotation of Korver, Tolliver and Stevenson.

Ivan should start, since his size, strength, and physicality would give Durant problems. Durant is primarily a jumpshooter without much of a post gm, so his height advantage won’t pose much of a problem for Ivan. This would also be a good opportunity to give Scott some burn. Let’s face it, no one can stop Durant from shooting his jumper. You just have to hope he’s not hitting it consistently.

While Durant was the Thunder’s best scorer, Harden was their best OFF player overall. He certainly did more than just shoot jumpers. Without him, they have few penetrators other than Westbrook. This should be an interesting gm considering the height advantage they have. Fortunately, they don’t have any postup threats, so they rely heavily on jumpshooting, which neutralizes their height advantage.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 3rd, 2012
9:40 pm

The teams have changed from March, but the result is still the same — Dominic McGuire still getting offensive boards over Joe in crunch time in this Raptors-Nets game.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 3rd, 2012
9:41 pm

And there appears to be some sort of rule in Brooklyn that the DJ can only play songs that are at least 10 years old.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

November 3rd, 2012
9:44 pm

FIRE LAME DUCK

TheBusiness

November 3rd, 2012
9:44 pm

Did the Lamester really just blame the rebounding on the GUARDs not being in the right position on the perimeter to catch long rebounds??? A drug test is too good for him . He needs a full friggin psych Eval!! Didn’t the GM in New Orleans coach the team a few yrs back?? Ferry you better pull your sweats out buddy. Josh who has always said he was a very fast healer, walked off the floor the other night, but now he has sprained ankle and didn’t even travel with the team??? This stinks really bad already and it’s not even rotten yet.