Atlanta Hawks: Williams the go-to guy down the stretch

Vivlamore back from Oklahoma and reporting from Hawks practice.

Right now, the fourth quarter belongs to Lou Williams.

That could change. Hawks coach Larry Drew insists playing time down the stretch of games, particularly among the depth of guards, will be determined by who has the hot hand that night.

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

Williams has been the team’s go-to guy late in the first two games for the Hawks (1-1). He has played every fourth-quarter minute and scored 27 of his 41 points (66 percent) in the final stanzas. In those two periods he is a combined 7-for-17 from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.

“I just want to be in the rotation,” Williams said. “That’s my main thing. As long as I’m on the court, I just try to maximize the minutes I get and make everything happen that I can.”

He may not start, but Williams has certainly been on the court when it mattered most.

Williams scored a team-high 22 points in the season opening loss the Rockets, with 13 points coming in the final quarter. His 22 points were the second-highest total for a player coming off the bench in his Hawks debut since the team moved to Atlanta in 1968, trailing only Tom Van Arsdale’s 23-point effort versus Portland in 1974.

In Sunday’s victory over the Thunder, Williams scored 19 points, scoring 14 of the Hawks’ final 23 points.

“We decided to ride Lou’s hot hand,” Drew said following Sunday’s game. “He made some really good baskets.”

In the win over the Thunder, Drew said he considered re-inserting starters Jeff Teague, who finished with 16 points, and Kyle Korver back in the game. Williams’ hot hand made Drew reconsider.

“From a coaching standpoint, you are going to ride the hot hand,” Drew said. “I don’t care who it is. In a situation where somebody is playing well, somebody is in a rhythm, somebody is having a good quarter you ride that. I don’t think there is any coach who would not do that. The last thing you want to do is disrupt flow.”

Williams, the runner-up for the NBA’s Sixth Man award last season, leads the Hawks is many statistical categories. He is first in scoring average (20.5), points (41), field goals attempted (31), free throws made (14), free throws attempted (16) and steals (five, tied with Teague). He is second in assists (nine). Despite coming off the bench, Williams is third in minutes played (58), behind Al Horford (71) and DeShawn Stevenson (63) and in field goals made (12).

“That is fine,” Teague said of Williams’ playing time late. “We are all here to win. Whatever we have to do to get a win, we are all with that. Lou had is going (Sunday) and we were all rooting for him. We were all excited to get a win. There are going to be nights like that. I might have it going. Lou. Devin (Harris). It doesn’t matter. We all want to win. We are all Hawks. It doesn’t matter who is playing.”

Practice report

*Josh Smith, who missed Sunday’s game with a sprained right ankle, did not practice Monday but worked on the side with the team’s training staff. Drew said Smith did some shooting. Drew did not know whether Smith could return for Wednesday’s home game against the Pacers, calling the forward day-to-day.

* Backup center Johan Petro (back) also did not practice.

* Drew said he did not feel that Korver, who is 1-for-8 from the field in his first two games, is pressing. “I just think he is trying to find his rhythm,” Drew said. “We are only two games into the season. … One thing about shooters, they know they can have two bad games but they know they can come back and have five good games in a row.”

* Stevenson, Teague and Williams finally allowed rookie John Jenkins to compete in their post-practice 3-point shooting competition. Stevenson won the first game but Jenkins was a clear winner in the second.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

207 comments Add your comment

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:45 pm

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:47 pm

SWEET LOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:47 pm

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:49 pm

“Shoot the J! Shoot it!” -Dave Chappelle-

It Teague wont take it. Sit his azz down and let SWEET LOU operate…..

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:51 pm

The 4th Quarter belong to Lou? Really?

Soon the 1st quarters and the starting job will belong to SWEET LOU!

Astro Joe

November 5th, 2012
3:52 pm

Sounds like they didn’t want to take a rookie beatdown in the 3-point contest. Nice!

As soon as they announced the LouWill signing, I suggested that the Hawks had found their “designated closer”. This town has a few good guys to finish out games. Craig Kimbrell, Matt Ryan/Matt Bryant and LouWill. (Bryant looked shaky last night but I still believe that he will come up big in the playoffs).

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

“* Stevenson, Teague and Williams finally allowed rookie John Jenkins to compete in their post-practice 3-point shooting competition. Stevenson won the first game but Jenkins was a clear winner in the second.” C-Viv

any guess what place Teague ended in both contests? Hmmmmmm

Astro Joe

November 5th, 2012
3:55 pm

Slim, yeah, folk are trying to say that Horford might steal some shine from Josh… I think it is Lou who after two games is looking like the guy most likely to steal fan and teammate affection from Josh.

Chris Vivlamore

November 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

The first five places go to Slimjr!

Slim, Teague was won the last two contests.

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

Who cares about shine, just win baby! WIN! lol…

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
3:58 pm

Chris, your joking right?

cp

November 5th, 2012
4:02 pm

Yea Astro I was wrong about Sullinger sliding in the draft. I thought he should have went higher. Dang slim guess you were wrong.

Grandad

November 5th, 2012
4:15 pm

* [F T L B]

Astro Joe @ 11:27 am … ///// ….. Post 0` the yr !

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
4:22 pm

His jumper is a [thang] of beauty coming off those set screens!

O’Brien#

Yes, the Knicks are 16-5 w/o Armare.Kinda hard to gel when your Allstar has not been healthy and missing quiet a few game the past 2 years..This aint tennis..

But know this when Amare fully heals he is still better than any Hawk player on their roster..Hmmmmm

What a quandary for Woody to figure out. How to integrate his multiple Allstar power forward into his system once he heals up and continue pulverizing opponents….

Guess that why the Knicks pay Woody the BIG BUCKS! hehehehe

Woody is 20-6 [regular] season record.. Sublime!

Rod from College Park

November 5th, 2012
4:30 pm

Any player with any real offensive basketball skills becomes the go to guy on this team. The reason is because the so called stars on this team (Joe, Josh, Horford) offensive games are flawed. First Flip became the man with Joe, then Jamal was the man with Joe, now Lou will be the man. It speaks more to Horford and Josh not being #1 guys, but being forced to have to become #1’s because of the flawed makeup of the roster. I like Lou Williams game alot, just like I liked Jamal’s game alot and even Flip’s. Reallistically though, you will not win in the playoffs in the NBA depending on Lou Williams, or Jamal Crawford or Flip Murray to be the go-to guy, because they can easily be taken out of the game. We need Horford and or Josh to consistently be dominate for us to be successful.

Just Joe

November 5th, 2012
4:40 pm

Lou’s scoring is too high volume, low efficiency for me to want him starting off games. I believe he’s shooting under 40% from the field (could be wrong). I prefer him coming in firing off the bench, and closing out games from the foul line.

Teague should remain the starter, but he needs to provide consistent defense, and take high % shots at the rim (or pass off) on offense. Last night was a pretty good showing, but I think he can get even better.

I’m not real concerned with Teague passing up the 3 late in game 1. He shouldn’t have been in that position to start with. Why not reverse the roles? Let your PG (Teague) handle the ball, and your scoring-guard (Lou) play off the ball, like he says he prefers.

The Big Picture

November 5th, 2012
4:41 pm

Mike Woodson’s coaching record:

W 226 L 292

W-L%: .436

Playoffs: 12-22 .353%

That’s the Big Picture.

Mike is Back

November 5th, 2012
4:43 pm

MsDee, ease up on my boy Josh…it’s just game two folk!lol

Sautee

November 5th, 2012
4:44 pm

Co-sign Rod’s 4:30 pm post. Precisely.

Rod from College Park

November 5th, 2012
4:45 pm

Ms Dee,

“I bet if the coaches of this league had to choose BASED ON THE ONE GAME THAT JOSH PLAYED LAST YEAR VS HORFORD’S PLAY LAST NIGHT AGAINST THE SAME TEAM, they would STILL choose Horford’s play, u know why? Cause Horford’s OVERALL PERFORMANCE (including his decision-making, lask of TO’s, no crying/barking at ref’s weither on court or while resting the bench, and his overall b-ball IQ) will FOREVER out weigh Josh’s ERRATIC performance!!”

Have no idea what point you are trying to make. Really no need to respond or debate with you concerning Horford because you always have your rose colored Horford glasses on. I just don’t feel you really understand the game will enough to really understand my points. I don’t bash Horford to make Josh look better, just like I won’t bash Josh to make Horford look better. You continue to speak on Horford’s high basketball IQ. Please explain to me what makes his basketball IQ so high? I don’t get it. I you really have a problem with guys arguing with the refs, then you obviously don’t watch alot of NBA basketball. All of the stars in the league argue with refs. Jordan stayed arguing with refs. Josh is actually the guy that is more CONSISTENT. You know what you will get from him every night. Horford has been more ERRATIC, case in point game one and game two.

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
4:49 pm

His Hawks coaching record is irrelevant…Throw it out with the bath water…..

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
4:50 pm

Big Al must of bought her a drink or two? lol!

Astro Joe

November 5th, 2012
4:52 pm

Imagine if the headline of this blog had been this:

“Atlanta native takes on new role of leading Hawks with late game heroics”.

And it was about Lou Williams.

An ankle would not have been the only thing twisted and knotted.

WeBurn

November 5th, 2012
4:55 pm

I REALLY liked Teague’s quote. Great outlook. I hope we keep him after this season.

O'Brien

November 5th, 2012
5:04 pm

Slimjr,

“Game…Blouses” lol.

As for the Knicks, I don’t think Amare and Carmelo work well together, because Carmelo needs to dominate the ball, which leaves Amare standing around.

If I am Woody, I bring him off the bench when he comes back, for a trial period. if they keep winning, then keep bringing him off the bench.

Grandad

November 5th, 2012
5:05 pm

I have seen Lou Williams jabbering at teammates,
during timeout, breaks etc.; which I like. [even Josh]
Lou wears the mantle of leadership easily and `tis natural.

This already has become Lou`s team.

This is not a slam on Josh nor Al.
It just happened as I said above naturally.
Also, as I said several days ago;
” Lou is our pg “.
Another occurrence – Lou should start. [1] (pg)

When I said this is Lou`s team:
it has nothing to do with being the leading scorer,
taking the most shots, taking the last shot,
making the all-star team, even being captain (only a title).

This became Lou`s team completely through osmosis.

Lou is a Tony Parker-esque pg.
By that I mean:
He most likely will never lead the league in assists; He just Leads !

G-Dad speaks

O'Brien

November 5th, 2012
5:07 pm

When Josh comes back, I don’t think he will have any issues with Lou being the closer. imo, Josh’s biggest faults are being stubborn and trying to do too much at times. But in crunch time, I think he will pass to Lou for a game winning shot if Lou is open.

Ken Strickland

November 5th, 2012
5:16 pm

SLIMJR-Why are you being critical of Teague for not taking jumpers? He’s just doing what the team needs him to do most, and what he does best, and that’s penetrate and get into the lane to score, dish, or draw fouls. After all, we certainly have our share of shooters on the team already. What you should be critical of is JSmith’s refusal to recognize what the team needs for him to do most, and what he does best, and follow Teague’s lead.

With Josh and Petro hurting and no definite time table set for their return, we need to recall Benson, since he’s already familiar with the players and our OFF and DEF systems. We’re simply too thin, small, and rebounding challenged along our frontline to continue going with what we’ve got, especially with LDrew’s reluctance to play the few rebounders we do have.

This fool seems to think that Korver, Tolliver and Stevenson’s 3pt shooting can overcome any DEF and rebounding problems we might have.

CDOG

November 5th, 2012
5:20 pm

THE DIFFERENCE AGAINST THE THUNDER WAS THAT THE HAWKS PLAYED HARD, SMART AND AS A TEAM.JEFF TEAGUE EVEN PLAYED SMART.PLUS THEY WENT INSIDE AND SHOT LAYUPS.THE DEFENSE WAS A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN AGAINST THE SORRY ROCKETS.GOOD JOB HAWKS! BLOW THE PACERS AND HEAT OFF THE FLOOR

tyger

November 5th, 2012
5:26 pm

Teague in a 3pt shooting contest…LOL

Did the backboard break, are the rims bent…or
Did he just shoot airballs?

He’s so funny, I’m starting to like the lil’ guy…
Reminds me of the lil’ dude from Notre Dame…
What was his name? “Rodney”???

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:28 pm

Rod from College Park,

So u REALLY dont have no idea what point I was making?? Really? Wow, no wonder u have this man crush on Josh, ya both have the same identical IQ, ‘RETARDATION’. S O R R Y, R O D, I C A N T B R E A K I T D O W N N O B E T T E R T H E N I A L R E A D Y H A V E. C A N U U N D E R S T A N D T H E W O R D S T H A T I A M T Y P I N G T O U? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:30 pm

LOL, me with the “rose colored Horford glasses on.” I guess we have the same glasses on, except yours belongs to Josh left butt cheek

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:34 pm

Oh, I forgot to ANSWER your question..what makes Horford’s b-ball IQ so high? His decision-making, lask of TO’s, no crying/barking at ref’s weither on court or while resting the bench, and his ability to recognize those who are around him. And if u dont like my explanation of his IQ, just ask Steve Smith and company from NBATV, he took the words RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH concerning Horford!!

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:37 pm

“All of the stars in the league argue with refs. Jordan stayed arguing with refs. Josh is actually the guy that is more CONSISTENT.”

HOW DARE U PUT JOSH NAME NEXT TO THE GREATEST BALL PLAYER OF HIS TIME???

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:39 pm

Westbrook is the Josh Smith of OKC..and yall see how that ended for them??? A big fat ‘L’…lol lol lol

Josh whoooooo……………

Buddy Grizzard

November 5th, 2012
5:43 pm

They never let John Jenkins join in any reindeer games

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:46 pm

OB

I’m a fan of Horford too, but I don’t think Josh’s inconsistencies have anything to do with B’Ball IQ. I think his problem is overconfidence (and some stubbornness too). But I think Josh’s B’Ball IQ is fine.

Put Josh Smith on the Spurs or the Celtics and see how his game improves with a coach like Doc Rivers or Greg Popovich. The talent is there. It’s his mindset that needs improvement (not B’Ball IQ imo).”

OB,

I never said the talent wasnt there either but sorry to correct you BUT the b-ball IQ HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HIS “inconsistencies” AND HIS “mindset”. Heck, put Teague, Ivan, or even Josh Powell (oh yeah, he IS there) and see how great their performance change. So, u are right, the talent has always been there, but his IQ/ inconsistencies /mindset will FOREVER KEEP HIM FROM BEING AN ALLSTAR!! ITS THAT “CUT & DRY”

Rod from College Park

November 5th, 2012
5:48 pm

MsDee,

So, if Horford passes up a shot in the paint, to get the ball to Josh standing behind the 3 point line wide open, does that mean that Horford’s basketball IQ is high because he passed to the open man? Was he a good team player because he passed the ball to a wide open player? What decision making has Horford made in the last 5 years for this team, that makes his basketball IQ so high? Was his basketball IQ very high last year in game 6 against the Celtics when he had 7 turnovers in a deciding game?. Was it high when he missed the free throw to send the game to overtime. Where was his IQ in game one this year when his man outrebounded him by almost 15 boards, and he was just standing on the perimeter waiting on Josh and Zaza to get a rebound? So if crying at refs determines basketball IQ, then Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson’s…… IQ’s must be pretty low.

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
5:50 pm

MsDee vs. RCP

Where’s my popcorn!

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
5:53 pm

Romnesia in mathematical terms: [1+1=-2]

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:54 pm

Think about it, why in carnation would Josh NOT get chosen to be an AllStar by the coaches after looking at his stats prior to the allstar selections?????? I mean, he straight out beat out Iguodala AND Deug. But did his STATS make the difference in him getting pick??? NOPE it didnt. So u guys need to stop thinking how Josh sees it and just face the facts! Until Josh decides to put his ego and pride up on the shelf, and just learn to play to his strengths, then he can just stop wanting to be respected as an allstar cause it wont happen if he doesnt chance his ways/mindset!

Rod from College Park

November 5th, 2012
5:54 pm

Slimjr,

That’s not even a fair battle. MsDee just likes Horford because he blew her a kiss and made her panties moist. She has no idea what is going on out there on the court. LOL

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
5:57 pm

Rod,

Dont hate cause I got the kiss from sexy Horford while yo kiss came from Mr Cry bady Josh!! I saw yall on kissCam!!!

Slimjr

November 5th, 2012
5:57 pm

“This already has become Lou`s team.

“This is not a slam on Josh nor Al.
It just happened as I said above naturally.
Also, as I said several days ago;
” Lou is our pg “.
Another occurrence – Lou should start. [1] (pg)” -Grandad-

The teacher has spoken..

Astro Joe

November 5th, 2012
6:00 pm

People, can we just decide that every player is stupid, every coach is incompetent and every GM is ineffective so that we can get on with the business of cheering for our favorite team?

Rod from College Park

November 5th, 2012
6:01 pm

“Think about it, why in carnation would Josh NOT get chosen to be an AllStar by the coaches after looking at his stats prior to the allstar selections?????? I mean, he straight out beat out Iguodala AND Deug.”

See what I mean Slimjr. Still harping on this All Star game nonsense. I guess she really thinks that Yao Ming was the best center in the league when he kept getting more votes than Shaq. LOL

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
6:04 pm

Rod,

BE QUIET!!

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
6:05 pm

Slimjr dont care about u…ya see, he turn the tide and jumped BACK on the winning player, Horford BABY!! Aint that rite, slim, ;)

MsDee

November 5th, 2012
6:07 pm

lol..im out, it was fun, Mr Rod but I must head home to be with the fam..might get back on later 2nite..peace & luv my Blog PEEPS!!

lightsoutfrom3

November 5th, 2012
6:11 pm

Hawks should let John Jenkins have a chance over Kyle Korver! At least give him a chance. Sit Toliver down and let Ivan Johnson start!