Atlanta Hawks: Smith still questionable against Pacers (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The big question is the condition of Josh Smith and his sprained right ankle. Smith was a “limited” participant in practice Tuesday. Coach Larry Drew said the forward is still listed as day-to-day and a decision on his status for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers has not been determined.

I can tell you that following practice, Smith and Mike Scott spent between 10 and 15 minutes working together on their post-up and outside moves. They appeared to be going close to, if not at, full speed. I’m sure a lot will depend on how Smith’s ankle responds to Tuesday’s workout.

I will let you hear it from Smith himself. Here is a portion of the post-practice interview I did with him:

Q. How is the ankle?

A. “It feels good. We are still taking it day by day. We are not announcing anything right now but it feels good.

Q. When did you do it because you played the whole fourth quarter (against the Rockets)?

A. I did it early in the fourth when I contested a (James) Harden layup attempt and I came down on his foot. It was kind of a bang-bang play, it happened real quick, so I just tried to tighten my shoelaces up and grind though it but it was still painful to play. I just tried to continue to play because I thought we had an opportunity to win.

Q. When you took you shoe off it swelled?

A. Most definitely. You go to sleep and the next day it’s stiff and there is a different feeling.

Q. Did you watch the Thunder game?

A. Most definitely. I’m the biggest cheerleader when I’m not playing. I’m the number one fan.

Q. What were your thoughts about how they did without you?

A. They played outstanding. They moved the ball extremely well. We ran our offense hard. We helped each other out on the defensive end. We communicated. It was a beautiful thing to watch. I was kind of hoarse at the end because I was in my theatre room hollering and cheering those guys on. A couple guys got some texts from me about their performance. I was real excited.

Q. What did you see specifically that was the difference between the Rockets game and the Thunder game?

A. I think the head of the snake performed. He came out – I’m talking about Jeff Teague – he didn’t play a lackadaisical. He came in and played aggressive on the offensive end. I think it motivated everybody else coming off that bench. You could see it. Whenever he plays aggressive, like he knows how to play, and using his speed we are a tough team to beat.

Practice report

* Guard Lou Williams left Tuesday’s practice with a migraine. It is not expected to affect his status for Wednesday’s game.

* Center Johan Petro, who missed both games and several practices with a sore back, returned to full contact Tuesday. Drew said Petro could play as the Hawks face the Pacers and center Roy Hibbert.

* Creighton University alums Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver started Sunday’s game against the Thunder. According to the Creighton athletic department it is the first time two Blue Jays started the same NBA game as teammates or opponents (research dates back to 1981-82).

* Not sure if I reported this before but the Hawks’ NBA Development League affiliate for the 2012-13 season will be the Bakersfield Jam. They will share with the Clippers, Suns and Raptors.

UPDATE:Below is the story of Smith’s status that I wrote for Wednesday’s print edition of the AJC.

Josh Smith watched – intently – as the Hawks won in Oklahoma City without him Sunday.

His sprained right ankle wasn’t the only thing worse for wear following the surprising 104-95 victory over the defending Western Conference champions.

“They played outstanding,” said Smith after a limited practice Tuesday. “They moved the ball extremely well. We ran our offense hard. We helped each other out on the defensive end. We communicated. It was a beautiful thing to watch. I was kind of hoarse at the end because I was in my theatre room hollering and cheering those guys on. A couple guys got some texts from me about their performance. I was real excited.”

Smith is still officially listed as day-to-day and questionable to return as the Hawks (1-1) host the Pacers (2-2) Wednesday at Philips Arena. Coach Larry Drew said the team will wait until Wednesday to make a determination of the star forward’s playing status. Smith sprained his ankle early in the fourth quarter of last week’s season-opening loss to the Rockets. He landed on the foot of James Harden while attempting to block a layup. Despite the injury, Smith played the rest of the game.

“It was kind of a bang-bang play, it happened real quick, so I just tried to tighten my shoelaces up and grind though it but it was still painful to play,” Smith said. “I just tried to continue to play because I thought we had an opportunity to win.”

The ankle swelled overnight preventing him from making the trip to Oklahoma City. Smith worked with trainers for most of Monday’s practice before returning for some drill work Tuesday. Smith said his ankle “feels good” but was not ready for an announcement on his status. He worked one-on-one with rookie Mike Scott for more than 10 minutes following Tuesday’s practice. The two appeared to work on post-up and outside moves, guarding each other, at close to, if not at, full speed.

Drew said the key to the win over the Thunder without Smith as the team’s rebounding effort and willingness to chase down 50-50 loose balls. The Hawks outrebounded the Thunder 37-36. The improvement came two days after they were outrebounded by the Rockets 58-36.

“The one thing that we can feel good about is we were able to go up to Oklahoma and win without Josh’s presence,” Drew said. “I think we have to feel good about that. Do we need him? Absolutely. Let’s not kid ourselves. I want our players to be in the mindset … that if one of their teammates is not able to play it gives somebody else an opportunity to step up and they have to be ready.”

Drew said one player won’t take Smith’s place. His scoring and rebounded must be replaced by committee. Anthony Tolliver started in Smith’s place against the Thunder. That would appear to be the case again if Smith can’t play against the Pacers. Smith, the Hawks’ leading scorer last season, had 18 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists against the Rockets.

Smith said the clear difference between the two games was Jeff Teague. He called the point guard the ‘head of the snake.’ Teague finished with 16 points against the Thunder, including eight in the first quarter.

“He didn’t play a lackadaisical,” Smith said. “He came in and played aggressive on the offensive end. I think it motivated everybody else coming off that bench. You could see it. Whenever he plays aggressive, like he knows how to play, and using his speed we are a tough team to beat.”

Teague said the team’s response against the Thunder came from an overwhelming desire to put forth a better effort than the season-opener.

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Reasons for optimism

* Five things we learned from the preseason

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

102 comments Add your comment

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
4:12 pm

“This team could easily become a top 2 Eastern Conference team if Josh would just grow up and harness his yet untapped potential. If that happens, he and Horford would form an unstoppable duo.”

No they could not. That is part of the issue with some of you. Unrealistic expectations.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 6th, 2012
4:13 pm

“According to the school’s athletic department, it was the first time two former Blue Jays started in the same NBA game as teammates or opponents (research dating back to the 1981-82 season).”

Hopefully also the last time.

MaconBaby

November 6th, 2012
4:18 pm

Keith

November 6th, 2012
4:19 pm

Chris,

Does this mean that the Atlanta Hawks will have access to players on all of those rosters or just Bakersfield?

MaconBaby

November 6th, 2012
4:23 pm

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
4:23 pm

Bakersfield Jam… cool name. Let’s hope Mike Scott is sent there to work on his game.

Ankles always seem to be more problematic than most “less severe” injuries. Josh should sit out the Indy game and come back for the Heat Friday night (at the earliest). Given that this will likely be his biggest free agent contract of his career, there is no need to rush his return. It is highly unlikely that this team will finish one game away from homecourt advantage (or any other noteworthy accomplishment).

Alex

November 6th, 2012
4:25 pm

“Drew said there is a chance he could play against the Pacers and their center Roy Hibbert.”

LOL, good one coach.

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
4:29 pm

We played OKC tough who beat the Lakers, Spurs, & Mavs.. 2nd year in a row we’ve had thier numbers. 1st time with Harden & 2nd time without him. We are a top team if we can get out player to play together. Rod needs to shut up

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
4:30 pm

Whenever he plays aggressive, like he knows how to play…

:lol: Kind of infers that there are times when he performs like he doesn’t know how to play.

Grandad

November 6th, 2012
4:30 pm

[*F T P B*]

MaconBaby

” Basketball IQ is how a player can adapt and adjust
in unexpected situations that require a almost instinct response.”

Nice analogue with interpretation. `G-Dad

” It’s probably the hardest thing to teach a player.”

Given your above definition:
basketball IQ is innate, therefore one cannot teach ” B-ball IQ ”
`G-Dad
____________________________________________

More on the subject later this eve.

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
4:30 pm

Petro needs to play.. He needs to earned his paycheck. He’s 7′0.. His job is to get rebounds, block shots , & clog up the paint.. Nothing harder than that

MaconBaby

November 6th, 2012
4:35 pm

Hopefully teague will rediscover his aggressive side, like he was in wake forest. Pulling up 3’s in transition and dunking all over defenders.

Sam

November 6th, 2012
4:38 pm

Amazing how the Hawks beat one of the best teams in the league w/o Smith, but lose to the Rockets with him. Smith tries to do too much and that throws off the rest of the guys on the floor.I’m sure Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia are so frustrated that they are in the paint banging bodies while Josh freestyles it out there hoisting up silly shots.

MaconBaby

November 6th, 2012
4:39 pm

Gdad,

My Bad. thanks for pointing that out. Poor use of words on my part. It would be more appropriate to say it is hard to develop.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
4:40 pm

“Rod needs to shut up. Petro needs to play.. ”

Some idiot tells me to shut up, and then states that Petro needs to play. LOL

Sam

November 6th, 2012
4:42 pm

It’s amazing how the Hawks can beat one of the best teams in the league without Josh Smith, but lose to one of the weakest teams in the NBA when he is on the floor. The way Smith hoists up silly shots has to be driving his teammates crazy! I think it throws everyone off their game watching what stupid decisions he makes. Horford and Pachulia are down in the paint banging for position while Smith is out freestyling on the perimeter.

Sam

November 6th, 2012
4:43 pm

Sorry about posting that twice.

MaconBaby

November 6th, 2012
4:50 pm

I don’t think you can blame the Rockets game loss on one person. Collectively as a team they didn’t seem to be there. There were times when smith and horford could have boxed out and they didn’t. Teage and Will would let their man slip by them for a easy bucket. When Harden was driving in there were times when 3 perimeter shooters on the floor and help couldn’t come. Just alot of things went wrong that game or help could have come and it didn’t. And yeah, Josh hoisted some bad shots.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
4:52 pm

“Horford and Pachulia are down in the paint banging for position while Smith is out freestyling on the perimeter.”

Did you actually watch game 1. I actually saw Pachulia and Smith down in the paint banging while Horford was standing on the perimeter watching. The numbers reflect that as well.

MsDee

November 6th, 2012
4:55 pm

Najeh,

“Josh gets more shot attempts than Al because he is more capable of creating shots for himself than others.” WHAT!?!?!!!!????? MORE CAPABLE??? Anybody can hoist up a bunch of shots and look foolish doing so, but that, my friend, DOES NOT MAKE HIM “MORE CAPABLE OF CREATING SHOTS FOR HIMSELF”..sorry, u GOTS to come up with something more than THAT??!!!!

Sam,

Posting that twice makes sense!! U were RIGHT on the money!!

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
5:01 pm

From the Jazz blog:

” Marvin Wiliams’ struggles continue. Remember when the first-year Jazz forward scored 21 points to lift the Jazz to an opening-night win over the Mavericks? Williams has mostly disappeared since that night. The former No. 2 overall pick scored 6 points against Memphis, bringing his total stat line for the three road games to 19 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Williams had not shot free throws on this road trip until Monday, when he made two.”

Boy Jazz fans have no idea how much they will see this in the future. LOL. Great job Ferry. I still am very intrigued by Derrick Favors, who can’t seem to get much time off their bench. I would love to have him in a Hawks uniform.

Chris Vivlamore

November 6th, 2012
5:20 pm

Sorry folks, had some technical difficulties with the blog and had to reconstruct it. Commenting is open again.

Chris Vivlamore

November 6th, 2012
5:22 pm

Keith: I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know that answer. It appears I will have to ready the link to the primer posted by MaconBaby.

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
5:25 pm

Against Houston,we had a 9 man rotation. Against Oklahoma, we had a 10 man rotation….. Friday 4 players out, Sunday 3 players out with. Funny thing about Houston game is we had 56 points in the paint to Houston 50. Against OKC 42-38 advantage Hawks.. Only difference 2nd chance points. Houston had a 15 -9 advantage over us whereas as we had a 16-8 advantage over the Thunder = Minimizing Defensive Rebounding by the other team if we miss our shots

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
5:26 pm

The biggest difference is the rotation of players.. Larry didn’t have it last year at times & didn’t have it in 1st game. Took Tolliver out, offense flows.. Korver & Tolliver can not play big minutes. In the 1st game, it was Josh (the most at 42 minutes), Teague, Devin, Tolliver, Korver, Lou Al, & Zaza. Last night we added Ivan / Anthony to the mix & increased Zaza’s role. That makes a difference. Antony Tolliver’s minutes decreased from 22:34 minutes with 6 points in the loss we had Friday to 16:05 minutes with 0 points in the win we had last night .. Yesterday : Ivan Johnson gave us 10 points in 12:15 minutes of play. Witnessing Mike Scott in Summer league & preseason, he is even more efficient in shooting and a banger down in the low post #Efficiency … Can’t wait for Josh Smith to return

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
5:31 pm

Keith, the Hawks can have a total of 15 players signed to the “big league team”. They can designate certain players (no ore than 2 years of experience) to Bakersfield in the D-League. The contractual rights to those players belong to the Hawkls and another NBA team can’t sign those guys. However, the Hawks are free to sign a D League player from any D League team. But, in theory, because the Hawks are monitoring the progress of players they may have in Bakersfield, they may end up scouting more players on that team than any other D League team. Of course, the Hawks also klnow about guys like Keith Benson, Damion James, Anderson and others who may play for other D League teams and are NOT currently signed by an NBA team (and therefore free to sin with anyone).
Hopefully, that answers the question. Hawks can send Scott & Jenkins to Bakersfield, no other NBA team can sign those guys and the Hawks can add any D League player from any D League team as long as their rights are not owned by another NBA team.

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
5:33 pm

Rod, if Marvin puts together 3 above average games, any chance you’ll be checking out Utah blogs to read about their excitement? I’m just trying to understand if your interest in Utah blogs extends beyond testing for Marvin Misery.

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
5:36 pm

Rod you are correct Josh finished with 18 point and 10 rebounds while Horford got 14 point and 5 rebounds.Josh and Teague carried the oldest bench on the NBA with Tack, T-Mac, Rad, Hinrich, Pargo, & Collins to the 4th best record in the East finishing 40-26 without Al so let’s not compare 1 game without Josh to over 40 games without Al. they are not the same. Larry Drew has to maximize their strength. Josh was responsible for landing Lou Williams, something Joe & Al has never done as leaders: recruit. I expect Josh to recruit more and solicit Lou to continue to bring players to Atlanta

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
5:42 pm

Actually I check Utah blogs pretty often to check on the status of Mr. Favors that I have a personal relationship (no homo) with. Just so happens that the guy that I told clowns like yourself was a bum long before many here realized it, happens to be in Utah now. So I will be checking on his status as well to let clowns like yourself, who argued with me about how great Marvin Williams was many moons ago, know how correct I was. Hope that answered your question.

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
5:43 pm

Josh was responsible for landing Lou Williams, something Joe & Al has never done as leaders: recruit

Really? The last time the Hawks were able or willing to spend more than $3M on a free agent was 2005. LouWill was NOT coming to the Hawks had Danny Ferry not made the required moves to create cap space to pay Lou Williams. All of this nonsense about recruiting… the Hawks paid each and every one of their “external” free agents from the past 2-3 seasons the minimum salary… if your value was for $5M and your best friend tried to get you to join his team for less than $1M, is there any recruiting in the world that he could do to get you to take a massive pay cut? Danny Ferry got Lou Williams here (and probably his personal desire to play in his hometown).

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
5:47 pm

Rod, if I called Marvin “great” then I guess you must have called Jamal “godly”. Because no one has had a bigger bromance with a former Hawks player on this blog than you with Jamal. A stalker like fascination.

BTW, is Favors playiing with any fire yet? He always struck me as someone who didn’t have the internal passion to match his physical talents/attributes.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
5:50 pm

“Larry Drew has to maximize their strength. Josh was responsible for landing Lou Williams, something Joe & Al has never done as leaders: recruit. I expect Josh to recruit more and solicit Lou to continue to bring players to Atlanta”

I would continue to debate with you, but this one statement lets me know that you have a little more knowledge than 95% of this blog, so I will digress. Some here actually said they saw Lou and Josh arguing thus Josh is a bad teammate, not knowing that the reason Lou is here is mostly because of Josh. They are very good friends. Bottom line is with Josh and Al, with only Al, or with only Josh, the roster is flawed, and we will not progress and get where we want to get until somebody fixes it.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
5:52 pm

“Because no one has had a bigger bromance with a former Hawks player on this blog than you with Jamal. A stalker like fascination.”

Actually I would venture to say that High-sider likes Jamal’s game even more than I do, so once again you post a falsehood. Call it what you want, but you can’t say I was wrong. I do know that much.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
5:55 pm

Astro Joe,

Lou Williams took less money to come to the Hawks for a reason. Marvin Williams was not that reason.

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
5:56 pm

Yeah, I can abolutely say that I never called Marvin “great”. As sure as you know all of Josh’s NBA friends, I know I have never put Marvin and the word “great” together. Never called him great, never suggested his play was great, never suggested his jump shot was great, his defense was great or his tattoos were great.

Buddy Grizzard

November 6th, 2012
5:59 pm

Whenever Teague decides to stop being lazy at both ends of the court, this will be a different team.

vava74

November 6th, 2012
6:01 pm

Is Favors the new Marvin?
That would allow us to see a trend: Rod’s taste to intensely follow the careers or underwhelming underachievers…

Section 303

November 6th, 2012
6:01 pm

I’m curious…a lot of posters are talking about Marvin. Whatever happened to the poster who called himself “It was a good pick”? Has he relocated to the Jazz blog?

I was ready for Marvin to leave. Like someone said above, the Jazz fans have no idea of the frustration that awaits them dealing with Marvin.

vava74

November 6th, 2012
6:02 pm

But I confess that I checked out the Jazz blog at Sports Nation :-)

Astro Joe

November 6th, 2012
6:03 pm

Rod, fact or fiction, prior to Danny Ferry’s arrival, the Hawks spent more than $2M on an external free agent since signing Mo Evans for $2.5M? Fact or fiction? Since the Speedy Claxton signing, how many UFAs from other teams have they signed for more than $3M? 0. If you are telling me that Lou would have taken 20 cents on the dollar to play with Josh, then he is an idiot. I’m sure that Josh did some recruiting… but let’s not assume things like playing in front of his family and receiving a contract that is consistent with his value as a player were secondary factors to the power of Josh’s influence. Sorry, not buying it. Danny Ferry is why Lou Williams is here. Likewise, Rick Sund is the reason we were routinely shopping at Dollar General for the past several summers.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
6:14 pm

“BTW, is Favors playiing with any fire yet? He always struck me as someone who didn’t have the internal passion to match his physical talents/attributes.”

I know many will not agree with me, but I have never been one to side with the majority on this blog. I think that Derrick Favors would give us as much as Al Horford does on a night in night out basis if given the same minutes for much less money. I have no proof of that, but I think he has the potential to be a very good NBA player. He is in a bad spot in Utah because he is behind Millsap, and Al Jefferson, who are making much more money, and have to get minutes. I also think that he is a guy who can be a true center, and will not run away from it. He put up 8ppg and 6 rebounds per game last year in 20mpg, while Al’s best year has been 15ppg and 9 rebounds per game in 35 minutes a game. I also think he is much better defensively than Al is. My opinion only.

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
6:27 pm

Bottle rocket Joe,

Actually Lou had better offers from a couple of teams but he wanted to come back home and play for the Hawks. Josh was one of the reasons. You can believe it or not. It does not matter to me either way. This reminds me of another instance when someone (doc) tried to argue with me concerning Woodson and Drew’s relationship. Only to look like a complete idiot after the truth came out later in an article by MC. Buddy Grizzard can vouch for that, and we never agree, because he asked me to give him my sources before that info became public. Believe it or not.

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
6:29 pm

Astro Joe, I’m sorry BUT Josh did recruit Lou. Lou could’ve taken Jamal’s spot with the Clippers if he wanted to. Location helps, but choosing Atlanta when the cap space allows us to get him is ALL josh.. They’ve been talking about for awhile. Also, Josh and Lou were not arguing. Josh was mad because he had to take the last timeout on an inbound play noone was coming to.. Closest player to Josh was Teague & Lou had to calm him down. That’s not arguing that’s telling him ” be patient, we’ll have the team we’ll truly want next year”

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
6:32 pm

Let’s not argue though because we had a better rotation against OKC !!!!!!!! Amo & Ivan was put in the rotation while Zaza’s role increased. Tolliver’s minutes were reduced. we had a rebound advantage so we adjusted well. On to Pacers & the Heat.

JR

November 6th, 2012
6:33 pm

The OKC game proved again that the Hawks need to get a deal for Josh Smith. This guy puts up numbers, but his tendency to throw up long jumpers instead of using his size, strength, and ability to post up or go the basket kills the Hawks. The current team may not go anywhere based on jump shooting, but a trade for some inside muscle and size could make them competitive. And what’s with the TV picture with Horford looking great and Smith twisting his mouth like a moron?

Rod from College Park

November 6th, 2012
6:34 pm

“Yeah, I can abolutely say that I never called Marvin “great”. As sure as you know all of Josh’s NBA friends, I know I have never put Marvin and the word “great” together. Never called him great, never suggested his play was great, never suggested his jump shot was great, his defense was great or his tattoos were great.”

I seem to recall you arguing the merits of Marvin Williams over Josh Smith. If not you it was one of your teammates. You are all the same to me.

Slimjr

November 6th, 2012
6:41 pm

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
6:52 pm

After last year’s season Danny decided Josh would be the player to keep….They were 40-26. increasing the value of Tolliver, Korver , Stevenson to package them rather than let them expire….La wanted Teague…Teams are definitely watching us w/ Josh in free agency. We have an amnesty to use by the end of this season, Al’s the only player eligible for amnesty. We also have a trade exception ( credit towards the salary cap) for trading Willie Green. We also have salary cap. NBA Teams Who Can Sign One Max Free Agent This Summer: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Utah. NBA Teams With The Most Cap Space This Summer : Utah ($35m), Atlanta ($34m), Detroit ($28m), Cleveland ($26m), Dallas ($26m), Milwaukee ($20m), Charlotte ($16m), Houston ($13m), Indiana ($7m), LAC ($7m)…trade exceptions, 1st & 2nd round draft picks, & amnesty is all on the table from a business standpoint…Jeff Teague says his camp tried to get an extension worked out w/ Hawks, but in the end “The numbers didn’t match up”. notable guards not extended are up for grabs: Tyreke Evans & Brandon Jennings . JOSH & LOU were not arguing . Lou told Josh to be patient. I was there

Slimjr

November 6th, 2012
6:52 pm

Hey doc, the Knicks have 7-8 guys who shoot 3 pt. shots in their sleep. It’s freaking scary and deflating to NBA opponents.. Trust me, been there done that…

The made 3 point shots are daggers. Now you have 5,6 ,7 guys drilling them around the perimeter, you dismantle teams like Miami with ease[ Knicks defeat Miami by 20 the other night]!

Yea Woody will have it on cruise control many a night..Get out a folding chair and a good book..

Woody is 21-6 with the Knicks! Sublime…………………………….

hot.trod.87

November 6th, 2012
6:59 pm

who cares about the Jazz & Knicks !!!!! hawks also beat Miami in the preseason as well hitting 3 pointers…